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What makes a rough coaster?


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A number of things can make a coaster rough including:

 

Wrong trains on track (I.e. PTCS on a GCII)

 

Bad maintenance/not enough maintenance

 

Horrible transitions

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Also, probably one of the worst things you can have on a coaster, is badly connected track. Some transportable roller coasters are notorious for having small gaps in between the track sections, and with smaller wheels, their that more painfull. Ive been on one that had gaps that were about 2cm in places. May not sound like much, but a 1cm gap, going at 20mph=pain!

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It's mostly in the wheels and the transitions of the track. Quick or jerky transitions can cause the rider to be thrown pretty quickly, which creates roughness. It can also be from bad maint (lack of replacing wheels, not retracking enough, etc).

 

However, saying Arrow, Vekoma, and Togo coasters are always rough is purely stereotype. There are very smooth rides made by all of these companies. Most enthusiast say these rides are rough (even if they aren't) just because of who they're made by.

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It's mostly in the wheels and the transitions of the track. Quick or jerky transitions can cause the rider to be thrown pretty quickly, which creates roughness. It can also be from bad maint (lack of replacing wheels, not retracking enough, etc).

 

However, saying Arrow, Vekoma, and Togo coasters are always rough is purely stereotype. There are very smooth rides made by all of these companies. Most enthusiast say these rides are rough (even if they aren't) just because of who they're made by.

 

That's a stereotype? Oh...I didn't know they're stereotypes among coasters? Any other that you know.

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The design of the wheel assemblies on those coasters you list have the side wheels at a set position, and the track is a little wider to allow for the assembly to rotate during turns. This leeway lets the cars 'jiggle' a little bit, which can translate into heads bashing against OTSR.

 

In contrast, B&Ms, and new Intamins have a different design, which in part includes using rubber 'springs' to always press the side wheels on the track. Therefore the cars don't 'jiggle' as they move along the track. Also, the track is generally heartlined, with smoother transitions and they use manufacturing processes that weren't possible in the 70s and 80s when alot of Arrows were built. They design the rides so that there are very little lateral forces, which means the track is banked accurately in transitions, which Arrows etc are not.

 

Wood coasters get rough over time from the trains bouncing on the steel track, which deforms it slightly, and the builds over time... If you've ever driven on a dirt road with a washboard surface, it's a similar concept.

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  • 2 years later...

I'm no engineer, but I can offer a little explanation.

 

Coasters, being mechanical devices, have parts that wear, get out of proper alignment, or simply break. Wooden track gets worn and broken fairly easily---so much so that wooden coasters are usually "walked" each morning before opening to assure that any broken pieces are replaced or tightened.

 

Coaster trains also have parts that wear or break, or get out of adjustment.

 

That's the short answer. Hope I've helped even a little.

 

Eric

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On Arrow coasters, the reason it provides a rougher ride is because the trains only run on the road wheels when not turning/upside down. The guide wheels are used only for turning and the upstop wheels are used for hills with airtime or inversions. This allows for the train to be able to jerk up/down and side to side.

 

Banking is another factor, different methods determine whether or not it'll be rough or produce high lateral forces. Unless shaped correctly, banking on the bottom of a drop is bad for lateral forces, which causes you to thump into the side of the train.

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Good question. I've always wondered the same thing.

 

Also, why are coasters typically rougher when riding in the back of the train than in the front?

 

For example, Flight of Fear (KI) seems to be running MUCH rougher this season than it has been for years, but this is mainly noticeable in the back. The coaster is much smoother when riding in the front seat. Why is this?

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^^ As said above

 

The reason it's different with B&M is because their trains wheels are all on the track at all times. No space to move, providing a very smooth ride.

 

Basically the wear and tear over time is the biggest reason for roughness.

 

The Togo standups & Premier lim bowls all have their wheels gripping the rails at once so contrary to poular belief that's not exactly what causes undue roughness....poor track geometry does play a major part however especially on the older Arrow rides because the banking & transitions into the curves aren't heartlined properly.

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DBru wrote:

 

Also, why are coasters typically rougher when riding in the back of the train than in the front?

 

When I went to Mt. Olympus last summer I did a little experiment. I rode Pegasus in the first row, then again in the back row. In the first row the train is pushing you down the hill. In the back row you are being pulled down the hill. When you get pulled down your neck gets snapped back which can hurt your neck and if your tall enough it will also hurt your back. If the train has head rests you won't fell it as much. This is just what I've noticed on a few coasters. In the end the back of the train probably gets higher G-Forces because the force of the rest of the train pulls it throughout the track.

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I wasn't really referring to the forces you experience, but to the increased "shuffling" you feel near the back of the train...

 

My best guess would be that the back is being pulled by the rest of the train, whipping it through everything faster than the front. That's really only a guess and could be completely wrong.

 

Also if a track is badly designed ( like others have stated ) that could amplify the roughness of the backseat because again it's moving faster through the elements than front.

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Roughness can be caused by, among other things:

- track imperfections (warping, "egging", manufacturing defects, etc.)

- vibrations in the track

- vibrations in the train

- shuffling caused by gaps in the wheel assemblies (the shuffling of each car tends to compound near the the back of the train, making the rear more rough. I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with getting whipped around.)

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^^^ I'm obviously no engineer, but I think it might have something to do with the fact that when the back of the train goes over any given section of track right after the front. So: Track is still>front of train rides over track, causing vibrations and movement>back of train rides over track, and so feels much rougher. Once again, merely a guess, but it makes some sense to me.

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I'm no expert but I think a good analogy to make is a roller coaster to a car. The well made one's last longer and work better longer. Also the ones that are taken care of better are more reliable. An Example of this is Riddler's Revenge. It was built 11 years ago and its still very smooth and runs really well. The one's that aren't made as well or as efficiently wont stay as good of a ride as long. An Example of this Scream!. Its only a 6 year old ride and it runs like its a 15 year old ride. It just comes down to better rides can stand wear and tear better.

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On Arrow coasters, the reason it provides a rougher ride is because the trains only run on the road wheels when not turning/upside down. The guide wheels are used only for turning and the upstop wheels are used for hills with airtime or inversions. This allows for the train to be able to jerk up/down and side to side.

 

Banking is another factor, different methods determine whether or not it'll be rough or produce high lateral forces. Unless shaped correctly, banking on the bottom of a drop is bad for lateral forces, which causes you to thump into the side of the train.

 

With arrow it also doesn't help that they seemed to have no concept of how to make any transition between elements smooth...

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