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Vekoma SLC questions and insight . . .


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So I recently discovered this little tidbit from the Vekoma website concerning their notorious SLC coasters:

 

"Vekoma Rides has recently designed new trains with the new modular seat design, with a special integrated vest, replacing the over-the-shoulder restraint, for a secure, comfortable and unrestrained feeling. Independent steering wheel bogies were included to offer a smoother ride and to lessen wear to increase the ride’s durability."

 

So I was curious to know if any parks have installed this "improved" version of a ride that's known to beat up its riders?

 

Also, I've been on one of these rides during the opening year (Hangman @ Opryland USA, now Kong at SFMW) and it was definitely one of the smoothest experiences. Of course K2 at SFKK was a totally different experience. Do these coasters automatically get rough? Is it a design flaw, or is it a matter of poor maintenance? I've heard that some installments (for some reason or other) manage to stay smooth. Any thoughts?

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The Great Nor'Easter at Morey's Piers has the new design trains.

They were added new for this season.

 

I rode Great Nor'Easter a few weeks ago. I would'nt call the ride rough or glass smooth for that matter.

The train shimmered side to side, if you have been on a few SLC's you know what I mean there.

 

However the restraint itself is very comfortable and kinda odd to not have the head or ear bang against the restraint. Which I'm sure would of happend if it was running still with the old trains.

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So can anyone describe the restraints? Are they similar to the ones found on the vekoma flying coaster?

 

From what I've seen of the design they look more similar to B&M flyer restraints than flying dutchman ones.El Condor also has the new trains IIRC because they were testing them with at least one new seat last year.

 

As far as I know so far no SF parks have purchased the new trains yet,after all if nothing's wrong with the current trains why replace them?

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^ Some parks are doing it to improve the overall experience of their guests. Therefore I'm not surprised at all by Six Flags.

 

I think that the vests will reduce headbanging for sure and that's one problem with SLCs, but as others have said they're jerky too and that has nothing to do with the restraints.

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I'd say the best way to describe it now.. is that it's like a wooden coaster now. It's still rough, but with the new restraints, there is ZERO pain and VERY fun.

It's hard to compare it though to other restraints. I guess it is most similar to B&M flyer types, but B&M flyers are VERY snug, while these are kind of just.. there, you don't notice it too much, the restraints feel more like, you're wearing a backpack, except of course no pressure to hurt your shoulders.

 

Hope this helps

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Very good improvement, You can see open and closed restraint.

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After riding T2 (again) today, I've realized that the worst problem IS NOT the restraints...it's the wheels/chassis.

 

The whole ride, our car "bounced" from side to side. When we reached the final brake-run, I FINALLY (after several years) discovered a major problem. The side-friction wheels are at least a millimeter from the track!

 

As the brakes released, I noticed that these wheels didn't spin at all, and didn't start until the abrupt, right turn into the station. Why has this problem not been fixed?!?!

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^I've noticed that on many coasters, not just Vekoma SLCs. Arrows do that as well. B&M and Intamin wheels are (correct me if I'm wrong) "spring loaded", so that the wheels maintain constant contact with the track. Other manufacturers, like Vekoma, have fixed wheels with a tiny bit of extra space. Hence the rough rides on SLCs compared to smooth rides on B&M and Intamin.

 

-Doug

 

P.S. - 100th post!

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I got the answer from a park maintenance manager.

 

Vekoma originally built their coasters with a variable 4 millimeters in regard to the space between the track and side wheels. In the 90's, they improved their building methods and reduced that space to 2 millimeters. Plus, SLC also got the problem of having the seats not rigidly fixed to the chassis...

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Part of the problem also comes from the fact SLCs didn't have independent wheel assemblies, but rather a pair connected with an axle, with only one pivot point in the centre of the car, so they aren't able to track as well as B&Ms etc. This is because when the wheels assemblies are joined by a common axle, whatever one wheel is doing affects the other, and vice versa.

 

When a train enters a curve, each pair of wheel assemblies/axle want to line up with the the pair in the car in front, and so on because they naturally want to take the shortest path possible around the curve to line up.

This is in conflict with what the track wants the wheel assemblies to do, the track wants the wheel assemblies/axle to stay perpendicular.

The diagram below shows an exaggerated example of this effect, so you can see how roughness can happen, because each wheel assembly is being forced in two ways.

 

The other major problem, and this has been mentioned, is just how unforgiving the harnesses are, a lot of older arrows are rough, but their restraints dont have those 'fins' that go up by your ears.

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^Isn't having a hollow spine also more cost effective. It's that much less steel they need to use for the coaster.

 

And specifically for the SLC, I went on Thunderhawk at (the now defunct) Geauga Lake and it rode desecnt, but it was also my first time. I can see how the new trains will help in certain aspects, but I wonder if Vekoma did look at the wheel assemblies too.

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Having a hollow spine wouldn't change anything at all ...as long as the structure is strong enough you can hold the track together whatever way you want.

B&Ms only fill their spines with sand to reduce noise.

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Due to the wawy the seats are loosely fixed to the chassis & held in place by shock absorbing dampers(one on each side of the main support) it only serves to intensify the lateral forces exerted on the car & as a result the passenger.As for the guide wheels not contacting the track:the positive forces exerted on the train in a curve keep the road wheels on the rail,it's only during the transition into,and out of a curve that the guide wheels "slam" into the rail causing a jolt that results in the headbanging we ohh so despise.

 

Vekoma was forced to use this method of attatching their SLC seats to the chassis thanks to B&M patenting the rigid support design that they use to attach the seats to the chassis on their inverted coasters....notice how intamin also uses a bolted seating connection instead of a solid one for their inverts(with the exception of their newer impulse coaster installations)?

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