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Did Summers/Dinn make ANY good coasters?


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I really appreciate what Curtis Summers and Charles Dinn wanted to do for the wooden coaster, but it seems they put rider comfort way back on their priorities. I mean, look at their track record...Mean Streak, Pysclone, HurtYourKnees (Hercules), Georgia Cyclone, Predator, the list goes on.

 

Frankly, it seems that CCI and The Gravity Group were the only thing good to come from the Summers/Dinn era of woodies. Then again, I don't know everything there is to know about coasters, being limited by my finances and travel options where I am. So if anyone has any info regarding anything that Summers/Dinn did right, I'd love to hear it.

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If it helps their case at all, I think Mean Streak wasn't too bad before it was trimmed to hell, and Psyclone was damaged by the Northridge earthquake. I also remember hearing that whatever trains they were using were very heavy and were hard on the tracks/structure, causing them to go to shit over time.

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Wolverine Wildcat is pretty good for a Dinn coaster. It was very smooth, and there was even some airtime as the train reached the top of the turnarounds. For some reason though, there was no airtime over the low hills, but overall, it is still a fun ride. I'd say it is pretty family friendly, but had there been decent on the low hills, I might even rank this as one of my favorite wooden coasters. In it's current form, it is pretty meh, (fun but nothing memorable other than being a smooth Dinn) and it is still nowhere near as bad as Dinn coasters can be. *cough*Predator*cough*

 

Edit: I second Thunder Run, when it was running well, it was awesome with great pacing and some really good airtime.

Edited by Airtime&Gravity
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If it helps their case at all, I think Mean Streak wasn't too bad before it was trimmed to hell, and Psyclone was damaged by the Northridge earthquake. I also remember hearing that whatever trains they were using were very heavy and were hard on the tracks/structure, causing them to go to poo-poo over time.

 

That's a good point. I've noticed that the trains on a summers/dinn coaster seem to be a little more "dense" than the ones on a Gravity group or GCI woodie. you may be onto something there.

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^The trains on Dinn coasters should be almost identical to those on the past Gravity Group coasters - aren't both two-bench PTCs? The only thing different about Psyclone's is that they were manufactured by B&M and were pretty much a total flop.

 

...I like Mean Streak. There, I said it. It's not my favorite, but I've never actually had a terrible ride on it.

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There seems to be a "When it was running well..." theme with a lot of Summers/Dinn, CCI, and I'll stay it - even some Gravity Group woodies.

 

It begs to ask the question - Why are these woodies so good when they first opened, but then go to hell in the following years?

 

As much as people want to "blame the parks" for the lack of maintenance, how do you explain that most of the GCI's are still running in pretty good shape after 10 years, or even rides like the Kennywood woodies that are decades old?

 

It's funny timing of this thread. Just last night I was working on the Ghostrider segment for RAW 5 and I wrote this about the ride on the title screen slate:

 

Ghostrider was a masterpiece when it debuted! A true roller coaster work of art. 14 hills, 10

crossovers, and 3 bridges! It was ranked the fourth best wooden coaster in the world! Sadly, over time

the ride has deteriorated and in 2009 its ranking had dropped to #55 in the world.

 

Has anyone ridden Hades this year? OMG. A ride that was easily in my top 5 I'm not even sure I'd rank in my top 50. And it *felt* exactly like what happened to many of those Summers/Dinn and CCI woodies over the years.

 

--Robb

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Texas Giant was ranked #1 for like 8 years in a row

Timberwolf was very good it's first few years too

 

Almost all wooden coasters go downhill after the first few seasons.

This is true even in this era, look at how many CCI's have been razed or are very rough (esp. the class of 2000)

People complain about the older GCI's too. (Roar,Gwazi,Wildcat)

 

It costs alot of money to keep a woodie smooth and as long as the ride is safe the parks are gonna let them ride.

 

Fast,Intense, Airtime filled rides put alot of stress on the wood & structure.

 

JEFF

Edited by pkdcoaster
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how do you explain that most of the GCI's are still running in pretty good shape after 10 years, or even rides like the Kennywood woodies that are decades old?

 

GCI doesn't go the mega woodie route. I'm no mechanical engineer, but I imagine the reduced height/speed means less wear and tear on the track and structure. Those old coasters that run great like Jack Rabbit and Phoenix are also not all that tall. I'm sure there are many other factors, but I don't think it's a coincidence that basically all of the super tall woodies turn to shit over time. Except the Intamin woodies of course.

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It could be that Summers/Dinn didn't have the foresight to build long, sustaining coasters. Rather it was the trains they used or just the actual design, they didn't seem to have a way to prevent their coasters from tearing themselves apart. I think it took their mistakes for their predecessors to fix what they did wrong.

 

The same thing holds true for Arrow as well. They build rides that everybody loved for the early years of operation but eventually got so rough that everyone made fun of them. (Except for Tennessee Tornado which must of been a result of Ron Toomer selling his soul to the devil!)

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Has anyone ridden Hades this year? OMG. A ride that was easily in my top 5 I'm not even sure I'd rank in my top 50. And it *felt* exactly like what happened to many of those Summers/Dinn and CCI woodies over the years

 

I rode it last year and this year, and while it was a better ride in the front row this year thanks to some retracking, there was a noticeable difference between even the first and second row. It wasn't horrible, but it was enough for me to not want to go back any further. Perhaps if the park owner would ride it more than two times, he would realize that the ride needs help. And I'm not even kidding about that, he said in a news interview about the 2010 addition that he's ridden Hades all of two times.

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People complain about the older GCI's too. (Roar,Gwazi,Wildcat)

 

Note that the three you mentioned were (I believe) the only three built before the debut of the lighter, articulated Millennium Flyers. I'd put most of the blame for the downfall of rides like Hercules and Mean Streak and company on the trains wearing down on the track, and without constant maintenance pits in the track are just going to get worse and worse. And then PTCs just weren't designed for maneuvers like those on Boardwalk Bullet and Hades - and I'd imagine the only reason that The Voyage still rides (relatively? I hear different opinions there...) smoothly is because Holiday World cares more for their woodies than probably any other park out there. Hopefully the Timberliners follow the Millennium Flyers example, but on the big Gravity Group-esque scale so that we can see a less dramatic decline of these mega-woodies.

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People complain about the older GCI's too. (Roar,Gwazi,Wildcat)

I would agree that some of the early, EARLY GCI's aren't as smooth as they could be, but even my last rides on Roar West (1999), Lightning Racer (2000), and Thunderhead (2004) were a LOT smoother than recent rides on coasters like Ghostrider, Hades, The Boss, Bandit, Coaster Express, Magnus Colossus, Hellcat, etc, all built around the same time.

 

And I'd even say that the last rides I had on HP's Wildcat, Gwazi, and Roar East were better than the last rides on those I've listed above also!

 

So why do so many of these rides go to crap over the years?

 

--Robb "The world needs more Intamin woodies!" Alvey

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So why do so many of these rides go to crap over the years?

 

Wood responds much more poorly than steel to the elements over the years, and it's unfortunate. I guess that the roughness adds some of that "good 'ol woodie charm", but ask anyone who's ridden Hurler or Mean Streak and they might just disagree.

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People complain about the older GCI's too. (Roar,Gwazi,Wildcat)

I would agree that some of the early, EARLY GCI's aren't as smooth as they could be, but even my last rides on Roar West (1999), Lightning Racer (2000), and Thunderhead (2004) were a LOT smoother than recent rides on coasters like Ghostrider, Hades, The Boss, Bandit, Coaster Express, Magnus Colossus, Hellcat, etc, all built around the same time.

 

Did you ride Boss in the front row? If not, then that explains it, as it was amazing in the front row, yet all the other rows will beat you up.

 

Also, your recent rides on Boss, Voyage, Hades, and Thunderhead(I remember you saying it needed retracking) were done during a heat wave. Is it possible that the heat might have played a role, or is it entirely a design issue? I rode Thunderhead maybe a week before TPR visited, and while not smooth, I'd say it rode similar to American Eagle, it was still a solid ride. It was fairly hot out, but nowhere near how bad it was at Holiday World. At Holiday World, it was somewhere near 95* with a heat index of something like 110+*. Voyage is probably one of the roughest coasters I've ridden, and my experience seems at odds from the reviews I'd heard going into the park.

 

It wasn't just during this time that I've noticed rides running poorly when it is hot out. Viper at SFGAM runs great most of the time(not counting this year), but when it is hot out, even this year, it runs noticeably worse. As you know, this is a coaster with a reputation for being smooth, but the ride experience is noticeably worse depending on the weather.

 

I can't explain the RCCA coasters though.

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I think it's a combination of engineering, park maintenance, and trains. Summers/Dinn was sorta like Arrow, just ahead of their time. They built overly aggressive coasters before the ability was there to keep them in good shape. I'd like to think that if a lot of their rides were built now, they would probably hold up better over time. Also, PTCs destroy track, and if a park isn't on top of their maintenance, and I mean REALLY on top of it, it's going to get irreversibly ugly in a hurry (hello Knott's). None of the GCIs that have Millennium Flyers are in that bad of shape. Thunderhead is starting to get a little bad, but that's after 7 full seasons and it's a very aggressive coaster. Hades was built a year later and is by many accounts a terribly rough ride now. What's the difference? Trains and maintenance. I really think that PTC is going to end up being obsolete in 10-15 years.

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Did you ride Boss in the front row? If not, then that explains it,

It is not a secret that even on the roughest woodies the front row can be "ok."

 

I do NOT consider a woodie to be "good" if you have to ride it in a specific row, during a certain time of day, when the stars and planets are aligned just right, etc...

 

I rode Ghostrider in the front row about a month ago and it was "ok", but in any other seat you might as put your spine in a blender and press puree.

 

--Robb

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Poor wording on my part, and I didn't mean to say that Boss should be considered good due to it being a fun ride in the front row. If that were the case, Demon would be a great ride because of the ride you get in the back row. Your comments just came off to me as saying that the rides you listed had become unbearable, and I was just trying to say that fun could still be had on them. I see the points you're making though as the rides you listed are nowhere near where as good as they used to be.

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I rode Ghostrider early October during the haunt, and while it bad in some places, in wasn't horrible.It was bouncy, but enjoyable. I still like it, even it the ride jackhammers quite a bit. The only major jackhammering was the first drop. I was NOT expecting it...

 

Now I've ridden Roar at SFDK and I've found the ride has aged quite nicely. All the rows are still pretty smooth as far as wooden coasters go, and the front row was fantastic! Still love that bunny hop in the headchopper tunnel.

 

When I visited CP in 05', I rode Mean Steak 3 times and for years, it was my favorite woodie. I always find it strange that people bash Ghostrider and Mean Streak, since my ride on them were fantastic.

 

Also, I've ridden Grizzly and CGA and that, my friends truely deserves to be called the worst wooden roller coaster in the world... Ow... Nothing about that ride is enjoyable, and yet the average wait for the ride is 15-20 minutes...

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One Dinn-Summers woodie that I wonder about is Georgia Cyclone. I've never ridden it, but know that it was a mirror image of SFMM's Psyclone and opened a year earlier (1990). No one seems to talk about it, neither positively or negatively. For anyone who has ridden it, how has that one aged?

 

Eric

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One Dinn-Summers woodie that I wonder about is Georgia Cyclone. I've never ridden it, but know that it was a mirror image of SFMM's Psyclone and opened a year earlier (1990). No one seems to talk about it, neither positively or negatively. For anyone who has ridden it, how has that one aged?

 

Eric

 

There have been a TON of reports about how rough Georgia Cyclone is on here, so I don't know how you could of missed everyone one of them??

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I've ridden

Georgia Cyclone

Timberwolf

Wolverine Wildcat

Mean Streak

Thunder Run

 

Georgia Cyclone is horribly rough but still makes it in my top because of it's airtime, it's just un-believable!

Timberwolf has some better than average airtime, but it is rough, the helix is boring, and some parts of the ride are messed up.

Wolverine Wildcat is very smooth (atleast when I rode it in June 10'), but it didn't have a whole lot of airtime, still a good coaster!

Mean Streak just sucks in every way besides the fact the structure is beautiful.

Thunder Run was pretty smooth and have nice airtime, not a top 10 but a better than average woodie for sure!

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The only Dinn ride I've had the "pleasure" of riding is The Predator at Darien Lake. I needed multiple chiropractor appointments afterwards. My back basically got slammed against the back of the seat at the bottom of the first 2 drops. I swear if my back had gotten slammed a 3rd time I might actually have cried. It was that painful. That was probably about 10 years ago mind you, and I've heard the new trains have improved the ride.

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