Why're coasters rough?

Thursday, January 17, 2002 12:45 PM
This is NOT a bashing forum, so please don't respond unless you have something constructive to add.

What makes a coaster (for instance an old arrow mega-looper) rough?  Is it the fit of the upstop and guide wheels?  Is it just old age making things not the same shape they used to be (wheels, rails)?  Is it the lack of articulation somewhere?

I know that when I watch GASM, you can see the wheels bang around on the turns (the car keeps going straight a tiny bit after the turn starts, and then the guide wheels slam into the rail).

Just curious.

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Thursday, January 17, 2002 1:09 PM
I think it also depends on how the park takes care of the ride. Viper is only a year older than GASM, but feels a lot smoother. Great Adeventure in particular has a bad reputation with ride upkeep!!

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Thursday, January 17, 2002 3:37 PM
Am I the only one in the world who is a GASM lover?  I don't find it rough at all!  You people must all have very loose necks to be banged around by GASM.  Why mention GASM as rough when you have the worlds worst coaster ever:  Viper right next door?  You know that horrid TOGO (NOGO) creation sitting dormant?
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Friday, January 18, 2002 4:58 AM
What about wooden coasters. Is there any way that the builders can decide how bumpy it will be or does it just get bumpy from the type of wood or the age of the coaster or anything else.
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Friday, January 18, 2002 5:09 AM
I believe when it comes to wooden coaster the biggest cause of "roughness" is inconsistencies in track gauge.
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Friday, January 18, 2002 7:46 AM
There are a lot of things that can make a coaster rough or a head banger.
1) Poor track condition  Track has bumps or is out of gage.  This is particularly a problem on woodies.  Usually do to poor maintenance though construction can be a factor.
2) Poor track support.  There simply isn't enough support under the track to keep it level or in smooth curves. Again usually a woodie problem
3) Poor tracking. This can be caused by wheels out of gage, dynamics of the train design, or poor design of the wheel carriers.  The wheels just don't want to follow the track or bounce around inside the rails..
4) Sudden/poorly designed transitions.  Your body and other things don't like changing directions or applied accelerations suddenly.  There needs to be some gradual buildup of forces.  This is especially problem when your head wants to keep going straight when the train suddenly turns, especially if there is an OTSR that slams into the side of your head.
5) I almost forgot square wheels.  The pounding thump thump from a wheel that has a chunk missing.  Almost exclusively a problem on steel coasters.

*** This post was edited by Jim Fisher on 1/18/2002. ***

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Friday, January 18, 2002 8:03 AM


Coaster131 said:
Am I the only one in the world who is a GASM lover?  I don't find it rough at all!  You people must all have very loose necks to be banged around by GASM.  Why mention GASM as rough when you have the worlds worst coaster ever:  Viper right next door?  You know that horrid TOGO (NOGO) creation sitting dormant?
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I have to note that I had no problems enjoying the aging ride until late last summer. The ride became unridable due to a truly rough ride. I consider it a problem when the headrest bumps under your chin during the first drop, and it's never done that before. (We are assuming the original poster was referring to the SFGAdv coaster. There are too many others with the same name in the chain.)

Of course, part of the problem is what has been mentioned above. The wheels had chunks taken out of them. I can only guess that the maintanence workers were not paying enough attention to the wheels on the back of the train, but I was getting knocked around pretty good for the entire ride.

Back to the main topic: Jim has made a pretty complete list of reasons why they get rough. I'd add that when the upstops are too loose, it can contribute to a transition becoming more rough than was intended. The example of the guide wheels slamming into the track could mean that the guide wheels are too loose or too small (wrong size).

This is also not including intentional roughness with the ride (such as Arrow seems interested in doing). It can actually make the ride more interesting and fun in small doses (see Magnum XL-200).


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Friday, January 18, 2002 8:17 AM
I thought the roughness of a ride depends on the way the wheels hug the track.  On B&M coasters, the wheels are touching the track all the time.  The running wheels, guide wheels, and upstops are touching the track all the time so there is no room for the car to "jump" like Arrow trains do.  The guide wheels and upstops on older Arrow coasters (Tennessee Tornado and X are exceptions) don't touch the rails at all times, so when a transition happens where they are not touching to where they are touching, there is a bit of roughness.  There are also bad transitions and square wheels that cause roughness among other things.
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Friday, January 18, 2002 8:24 AM
for roughness on wooden coasters it is the wood they use. douglas fur is the best and most expensive, older rides used this. southern yellow pine is inferior and unfortunatly 90 percent of all coasters are built and tracked with this cheaper wood. some coasters are tracked with douglas fur and the structure is southern yellow pine.
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Friday, January 18, 2002 9:09 AM
I hope RideOp has some answers for us on this.
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Friday, January 18, 2002 9:16 AM
Forget Rideop I'm waiting for Rideman :) Rideman please give us your expertise...
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Friday, January 18, 2002 9:34 AM
I guess I"m confused.  What do you mean a wheel has had a "chunk" taken out of it?

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Friday, January 18, 2002 9:45 AM
On Arrows:  I think the roughfness has a lot to do with the transitions.  Vortex at King's Island has always seemed to be a little bumpy through its trasitions.  The dive off the holding break to the 'screws have always thrown me around, but that is what I love about the ride.  Another example is on DF.  The transition from the mid-break to the 'screws is just funny looking, and later on that element was taken out (I think).

The wheels sometimes factor in the equasion.  I remember on a few times on Vortex (KI) when it felt like the wheel was a little "square-ish".  The more often a park changes the wheels, the smoother the ride.  Also with wheels, the spring loaded B+M wheels seem smoother than the Arrows. 

The engineering technology that was used the create the "mega loopers" was very more low tech than the engineering skills used on more modern rides.  Think of how much your computer has evolved and inproved since the '80s. 

The main factor in woddies seem to be the maintence + design.  A good example is Beast vs. SOB.  I feel that the Beast is as smooth as glass when it is compared to Sonny, and Dad has been around since '79.  I imagine that The Beast is KI's claim to fame, and the maintence on that ride is a top priority in order to keep it running well.  SOB is a new ride, but it is very roughf, and shuffles a lot.  This could be a design flaw, and I believe at trains are NOT designed to go that fast on wood.  Train design on SOB is a major problem too.  The cars are cramped which leaves less room to the rider, which increases their chances of banging one of their body parts against the car's metal sides.   

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Friday, January 18, 2002 12:37 PM
I am also a GASM fanatic and I think its one of the best rides in the park. I also love Viper to though.
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Friday, January 18, 2002 12:47 PM
The wheels on steel coasters generally have metal hubs with solid urethane tires.  These tires will often actually loose a chunk of the plastic.  That's what causes the dictinct thump thump that you sometimes feel.  It can vary from a very slight thump to on rare occasions an absolutely pounding jolt if the missing chunk is large enough.

This is often referred to as a square wheel even though it of course in not actually square.

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Friday, January 18, 2002 7:50 PM
No Comment from Rideman... We'll I'll continue to wait....
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It's conflict that shows who a person really is!
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Friday, January 18, 2002 11:13 PM
"Old computer technology" is not a valid reason to describe why rides are so rough.  If anything, it smoothed rides out.

If that were the case, wouldn't rides become progressively smoother as time went on?  For instance, how come there are some pretty old Schwarzkopf coasters that are still smooth as glass, but some newer ones are so jerky?  The answer lays not in AutoCAD nor computers, but in the people who design the ride.

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Saturday, January 19, 2002 12:16 AM
Why are coasters rough? Simply answer realy. Its because companies other than Intamin and B&M are making [or made] coasters. ::rim shot::
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Saturday, January 19, 2002 9:48 AM
Woodies will often "shuffle" or "hunt" when the track is out of gauge.  This is BAD for the track, the wheels, the riders, and the trains.  Upstop wheels can get beat up a little if the ride produces significant airtime.  Road wheels can get beat up when that airtime ends abruptly...if you've ridden KG's Twister or SFoG's GASM, you've probably "bounced" onto the brake run.

I have an idea I'd love to try out that would help reduce a lot of these problems... 

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Saturday, January 19, 2002 9:56 AM
Canobie Corkscrew only seems rough because the OTSR are hard and not soft, and Yankee Cannonball is OLD and i find it really smooth...

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Out of the coasters i've ridden here is wat i rank them overall:(ive been to canobie lake and SFNE)
1. S:RoS 2. Yankee Cannonball 3. Riverside Cyclone 4. Canobie Corkscrew 5. Thunderbolt 6. Galaxy 7. Mind Eraser 8. Dragon coaster 9. poison ivy's tangled

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