Why not improve a wooden coaster?

Hello......I have posted here a few times before. Why cannot the designers of the newest coasters come up with a wider steel track about 3 inches along with a harder urethane or better plastic wheel for a smoother ride while costing "much less" to build than a steel coaster?? I do understand that there are wood coasters with steel tracks like Gemini at Cedar Point. Even if the wheels were higher maintenance and needed to be replaced monthly......would that not make up for the savings over the initial cost of a steel coaster from the start? Wood is cheaper but higher maintenance. Just a thought.......What do you think???

Last edited by talon1189,

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Raven-Phile's avatar

I don't think it's been done before.

It's such a good idea, they might even be able to make woodies do overbanks and inversions, like barrel rolls.

delan's avatar

Methinks most of the intamin wooden coasters do exactly what you're suggesting.

Wodan also uses polyurethane wheels. It sounds d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s!.

Fun's avatar

Somewhat related question here, did Son Of Beast have a wider track gauge than most wooden coasters? I seem to remember reading that somewhere. If so, I don't think that did anything to improve the ride and if it did, the benefit was certainly counteracted by other factors.

delan said:

Wodan also uses polyurethane wheels. It sounds d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s!.

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Tekwardo's avatar

Was that meant to be a meme mashup?!

As for the OP's question, yeah, I think that's actually been done. Having said that, depending on the maintenance and design, most wooden coasters, IMO, don't need to be improved.

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Most wooden coasters these days either have of are getting wider and thicker steel rails.

As for urethane tires, those have certain disadvantages for use on wood coasters. They are less durable than the plain steel tires, and they are subject to damage from rolling over the track joints. Perhaps more important, because e urethane tire is flexible, it can absorb a considerable amount of energy resulting in a slower ride.

One manufacturer has countered by building a wheel carrier much like the setup on a steel coaster, and mounting that wheel carrier on a pivot under the car, then using a resilient block (urethane, rubber, something like that) as a stop for the wheel carrier. The result is to put just enough "padding" between the wheel carrier and the car chassis to give about as much shock absorption as you could get from a urethane wheel, but with the classic benefits of steel wheels.

This manufacturer also uses generously padded seats, something the bean counters in the big park maintenance departments seem to have forgotten about. That makes a bigger difference in ride quality than almost anything else.

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Last edited by RideMan,

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