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Kemah Boardwalk and Bullet Discussion Thread


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The Bullet will be re-opened tomorrow on New Years Day. The ride is MUCH smoother now throughout the first drop. Those who like the lateral forces will be a bit disappointed as the first drop all the way to the upper bay turn is very tame now. Those who thought it was too rough or aggressive will be happy. It's really amazing what only a few inches of adjustments here and there have done.

 

The front seats are my favorite now, row two right which was almost unridable for me is now really fun. It seems to retain a bit of the action on the first drop that was lacking in the other seats.

 

The back seat ejector air is not like it used to be, only about half as intense. The "Pop" is still there, only about 1/2 as intense.

 

The track needed lubricated and was screaming all over the place so I'm sure it will pick up speed once they graphite it. It was testing between 66 seconds to 72 seconds, about what it rode before the changes...

 

I'll be riding a good chunk of the day tomorrow so should get a feel for how I like the changes. Right now I have mixed reactions. I am quite confident that those who thought it was too rough will like it much better now however.

 

-GG

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OK, after a dozen rides tonight, here are my first impressions of Bullet 2.0

 

Before I get into it, let me say that the train was empty except for Guru and myself, it hadn't cycled very much and still had some breaking in to do, and the temps were dropping quickly, making the ride even more sluggish.

 

Point-by-point, here are the changes:

 

Station to first drop: no change

 

First drop: violent ejector air in the back is gone. There is still good air, but not the thigh-bruising slam there used to be. You pretty much have to be in the back 3 rows to get air at all, but that's not much different than before.

 

Bottom of drop and zig-zag: this is the biggie. What was once some of the most intense, aggressive wood coaster track on earth is now faster, smoother, much less aggressive, and not nearly as intense as before. People will still have their hands raised through this section now. Folks like me who LOVED the aggressiveness there are going to be a bit disappointed, feeling that the ride has lost its teeth. The airtime on the zig-zag hump isn't as pronounced any more, but there is still some there. It has NEVER been that smooth there before. It's actually one of the smoothest parts of the ride now. The general public, the average coaster rider, and a handful of TPR wusses are going to like this ride A LOT more now. The rest of us will talk about that section in the past tense, the same way we talk about other coasters that got tamed.

 

Upper bay turn: one word -- FAST. Not brutal at all, even with a hint of the "triple slam" that used to keep the intensity going. This section is significantly improved.

 

Second big hill: much more airtime for the front cars going into the water tower turn. Early test runs (with a trainload of loaded water dummies) were zipping over this hill pretty quickly. The empty train (except for the two riders) wasn't much faster here than before. Anxious to ride with a full train tomorrow!

 

Second drop into middle bay turn: some nice yank in the back car coming into the drop. Floater air in the front cars on the bunny hop. Middle bay turn feels a smidge faster, but not really noticable until you get to...

 

Queue line flyover: this was the hill that I really looked forward to when I watched it being built, but it never really delivered. It almost does now, and in the front seat it actually does. Sideways banked floater air. Neato.

 

"The pop": isn't quite as sharp as before, but it's STILL THERE All of the surprise with none of the pain. This is a good thing.

 

The rest of the ride (station drop, photo turn, lower bay turn, brake run hop, final turns): largely the same as before. Once the ride breaks in again, this may improve.

 

Brake run: still crawls back to the station at 0.0004 mph. Sigh. The mag brakes actually stop the train before the squeeze brake now.

 

 

Bottom line: for me personally, I think the ride will probably drop a notch or two on my list now. I'll know better after a full day of riding tomorrow with more people on the train. For *MOST* people, however, the ride will be better. It's smoother, less aggressive, and FAR more re-ridable than before. You aren't going to hear any complaints about sore necks, ribs, etc from this ride now. Even the back seat is smooth enough to marathon on now. Hell, even the middle seats, which I would avoid like the plague before, were not only ridable, but FUN. This was a good move on the Boardwalk's part to make the ride better for 99% of the people who will be buying tickets. For the other 1% like myself, I'll just enjoy it for what it is now (which is still a really good ride), and fondly remember when it had "the most intense 15 seconds of any wood coaster on earth."

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Oh well, If the weather is good tomorrow I will see you all there. I will have to see if i like it or not. Or if I notice a big difference.

 

I can't tell whether or not you'll like it, but I can PROMISE you that you'll notice the difference. The first drop, zig-zag, and upper bay turn are pretty family-friendly now, and not rough at all. TOTALLY different than before.

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Jim, I'm interested to see your thoughts today after you ride with a full train...it sounds like a full train will make a huge difference on speed and therefore forces. But if the ride is smoother yet still has airtime, I'll still be a happy camper!

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Ok, I just took my 500th ride on Boardwalk Bullet at a few minutes after 9pm tonight.

 

In spite of my meh review from the test rides last night, I must say that a day's worth of running circuits around the track has done wonders for the ride. The new track sections just needed to break in a bit, I suppose, since the ride got progressively more intense as the day went on. By the late afternoon rides, the first drop and zig-zag were almost back up to their previous intensity in the back half of the train. The hard slam coming out of the first drop is gone and the brutality of the turn is gone, but the intensity of the right-left-right in the zig-zag is back and so is the airtime in there. WOO HOO!

 

The upper bay turn still has the one-two-three kicks, but has lost almost all of the shuffle that made it so rough before. It doesn't lose much speed through there now, making the front two cars get wicked air going into the water tower turn.

 

The second big drop has some nice yank in the back cars, the bunnyhop has floaters, and the Saltgrass turn was tracking nicely today. The queue line flyover was even getting air in the front of the train.

 

The pop is BACK. Hell yeah! Last night's sluggish rides had tamed it a bit, and while the sharp, painful spike you used to get on the pop has been removed, you STILL get an evil little burst of quick ejector air seemingly out of nowhere. It still takes people by surprise and makes them scream and/or laugh.

 

The back third of the ride, from the station drop to the brakes feels a bit slower and has some nasty shimmy around the final two turns. In my opinion, the next time it has off-season trackwork, they should look at the final two turns and the turn between the pop and the station drop. That turn is REALLY sucking the speed out of the train and has some pretty bad shuffle in it.

 

Verdict? The Bullet is back! Yes, some of the aggressiveness (or roughness, if you prefer) has been tamed. I'd argue, though, that the ride is still as intense as it was before, it's just more comfortable to ride now.

 

Several of today's riders had been on it before (employees of the restaurants were allowed to ride today) and I overheard a lot of "oh yeah, that's a lot better now!" from many of them.

 

I rode all day with Guru, and Almightyfire showed up later, followed by NHolt. I'll let them post their own reviews.

 

I was hoping that the trackwork would pull the cycle time down to around 62 seconds, which would've given it a shot at moving up to my #1 coaster. It ran at 68 seconds most of the day, which isn't too bad considering that it was c-c-c-c-cold today and quite windy. The Texas summer heat should speed it up a bit. Still, I don't expect that it will replace Voyage as my #1 coaster.... but it's not going to drop any spots on my list, either.

 

Oh, and those of you who were there for the TPR shoot will be happy to hear this: even after 59 rides today, mostly in the back of the train, I'm not sore at all. There is no way I could've done that many in the back before...

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I agree with pretty much everything Texcoaster said. I wouldn't call the airtime going into the water cooler turn 'wicked' in the front seats, but there is some there which used to not happen unless you got really lucky fast rides. The 'one-two-three' kicks he mentions on the upper bay turn are about 80% less forceful than they used to be and my understanding is that they will be even less noticeable by the weekend.

 

The temperamental nature of the Bullet seems to be back - I have pretty much given up on figuring out a favorite seat as they change hour to hour. Seat 2 right last night and most of the morning today was really fun, but when the track started breaking in this evening it started showing some signs of why I hated it so much in the past. The front seats, as always, are very smooth - much smoother than ever before. The back seats (10-12) provide ejector on the first drop and some nice action on the zig zag after the drop.

 

I rode with a lot of normal customer riders, several of them stated they didn't think they would ever ride it again since it was too rough when they rode it awhile back but their kid and/or partner coerced them into it riding again. At least two of these people stated it was much better than before and even rode again. As Texcoaster pointed out, the entire slam you used to get at the bottom of the first drop is totally gone and the turn up to the zig zag produces some nice downward g's before you get some lateral ejection during the zig zag. I still think the zig zag isn't as aggressive as before, but it is still very fun. I can safely say that there will be a lot of single ticket riders who will go buy another ticket to ride again - I saw it happen more than ever tonight - since it is nowhere near as rough.

 

The ejection in the back three seats is still not what it used to be but it is about 80% as good, which is still very good.

 

Visually, the "Pop" hill looks different, you can tell they smoothed out the hill, but the "Pop" is still there and it was a lot stronger than last night, still not as bad as it was before, but definitely gets your attention! This is one of those 'defects' that I don't mind staying especially now that its toned down a tad

 

While I wish the maintenance it would have made the ride cycle speed up (it ran a constant 66-67 seconds open to close), I think these changes are good overall. It appears that the main problem, the slam at the bottom of the drop, will never rear its face again. Some thought that this aggression was a bonus, others not. Personally, I'm glad its gone and I know it was a maintenance nightmare as well.

 

I totally agree with Texcoaster he stated they need to work on the last 1/4th of the ride, from the turn after the "pop" on in. There is a lot of shuffling and one medium slam forming as you drop from the last little hill before making the final turn into the station. It does seem slower here now and is a bit annoying after you have ridden as much as we rode today. Perhaps this is the part Sharktums was talking about when she mentioned she wished it was down for maintenance longer in another thread.

 

In the end I doubt these changes will move it much further up on your top coaster list because the last 1/3 of the ride is still a bit too slow for the elements to perform properly. I'm sure it will move it up a little for those who have it way down due to roughness. So for those who rode it before the changes, just imagine going down the first drop, not getting slammed into the left side of the car, not getting shuffled right after that, and not getting as violent zig-zag ejector. Otherwise the rest of the ride is pretty much the same. Lets hope it stays this way in the months to come.

 

The Bullet should be open all week but don't expect it to be open with at 11am. Try 1pm or later to be safe.

 

-GG

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Verdict? The Bullet is back! Yes, some of the aggressiveness (or roughness, if you prefer) has been tamed. I'd argue, though, that the ride is still as intense as it was before, it's just more comfortable to ride now.

 

Sounds great. I just hope the thing stays this way until I can get down there. If I get lucky, Baylor will call me for an interview, which would bring me down to Houston in the next few months.

 

The temperamental nature of the Bullet seems to be back - I have pretty much given up on figuring out a favorite seat as they change hour to hour.

 

Sounds a lot like Voyage, which has run the range from "Best. Ride. Ever." to "never again" in reactions for me. If Voyage ran at peak form most of the time, it would definitely be in my top 10.

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I got around 15 or so rides in this evening, and it was cold! Well... cold for Houston. There was practically no line so we did not have to wait at all, in fact we never had to get out of our seats on a couple rides.

 

I'm not sure what to make of the "new" Bullet. It is different in some spots and certain seats. Over all I would have to say that it is smoother and a better ride. That brutal section right after the first drop is so much smoother now and other spots seemed a little less intense. The front car was especially a whole lot smoother. However the middle, back, and for some reason the second car were kind of rough not unlike it used to be. I think it all depends on what seat your in and what you like in a coaster. I did get a few "floaters" on a few runs.

 

At any rate I would highly recommend heading down and having a "cold one"! The Bullet is back

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Sounds a lot like Voyage, which has run the range from "Best. Ride. Ever." to "never again" in reactions for me. If Voyage ran at peak form most of the time, it would definitely be in my top 10.

 

Voyage is my #1 coaster, and I'm really sorta afraid to ride it again. I got nothing but fantastic (although a bit brutal) rides on it, airtime everywhere, never trimmed, triple-down delivering on ever ride.

 

From what I read about its temperamental nature, though, I'm afraid to spend the money to go back and chance getting crap rides on it. I can imagine it would be like someone who rode Texas Giant in 1990 and putting it as their #1, then coming down here to ride it now. What a shocker that would be!

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I enjoyed riding Bullet yesterday. The first 1/3 is fast but w/o the "roughness". Now you can actually remember the track course. The turn around the bay is smooth and a blur it goes by so fast now. Front row seat is smoooooooooth as silk. Depending on which seat your in, you can get the feel of the "old" Bullet before spot retracking. No head, back, rib aches : )

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DITTO. My first ride was in the front and I was truly disappointed TOTALLY to the point I wanted to get a refund on my 20 dollar wrist band but texcoaster and GURU convinced me to give it another chance and ride in the back AND IT IS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE THERE. Still some of the roughness but not too extreme. This is the first retracked coaster I have ridden and I do see that it actually chances the ride noticebly. The ride in the front is butter smooth now. You can now ride it all day and not get bruised but that is the characteristic I love about a woodie is the roughness and that is what made THE BULLET unique to me. That first drop was the bomb. Now the second half of the ride is unchanged. It was never that rough anyway. So it is now a coaster for everyone to ride. Now the second half didn't speed up at all.

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So true. You can actually ride Bullet ALL DAY LONG and not get hurt in the process. Like Texcoaster said "it lost it's teeth" the brutal stuff.. but I think overall its a fun coaster. Towards the afternoon, the trains were hauling azz. I hope that when spring and summer returns, the wood will give way to the heat and possibly be even better.

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From what I read about its temperamental nature, though, I'm afraid to spend the money to go back and chance getting crap rides on it. I can imagine it would be like someone who rode Texas Giant in 1990 and putting it as their #1, then coming down here to ride it now. What a shocker that would be!

 

Your best bet is probably the Holiwood Nights enthusiast event then. I imagine they'll put in a fair amount of effort to get the woodies in top form for that. And it's early enough in the season that any miscellaneous problem areas that they re-tracked in the off season won't have had enough time to get shredded again. Oh, and several hours of night rides!

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I was upset but realized that how it was...I rode it and when my girlfriend and i made it back into the station shelaughed at me cause my eyes were watery!(I wear contacts, and my eyes leak during fast front seat action ) I enjoyed being able to walk off and not have to hold my thigh from hurting. When we left i saw tx coasters blue beanie bouce in the air through the first drop.

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Everybody had tears of joy and appreciation for the Bullet to open on the Holiday. And there was a chill in the air with the north winds blowing. There was this dude with extra long straggly hair like from the 70s, when he got off the ride he was tearing badly.

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Everybody had tears of joy and appreciation for the Bullet to open on the Holiday.
I couldn't wait to ride it i had to fudge some stuff at work to leave, and then had to wait 10 mins in line cause some girl kept saying "i'm scared!" with her group of friends. I'll be back for 20 or so rides thurs evening.
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I think something is wrong with me...I only feel the first drop in the back seat ONE TIME. After that i can't feel it anymore A little boy around 7 or 8 sat in the back with me last night and asked me "How does it feel in the back!?" I just smiled and said "You'll like it!" in the middle of the ride he said "you were right!" When i was that age i was terrified

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