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B&M Wing Rider Coasters - Love or Hate?


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Only been on Gatekeeper so far. Just like what was said, I like it, but it's not "great." My type of coasters are out of control ones as well, and I can pretty much say I'm a fanboy of Premier spaghetti bowls, and tight layouts on Eurofighters (Sometimes the roughness of an SLC as well). Gatekeeper had a lot of swooping and diving, which isn't my favorite style of rides even though the amount of g-forces on it did surprise me.

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It seems many people are not big fans of wing riders, citing they are force-less. Is it plausible that the real issue is that these rides are more like flight simulators than actual roller coasters? They have high accelerations in spots - so they are definitely not force-less. Personally, I think most B&Ms feel more like flying than riding a roller coaster. The bucket seats with feet off floor, the four-across seating, the slick maneuvers, the perfectly heartlined and parabolic distribution of forces, etc. Flying is fun too! But it's different than riding a roller coaster.

 

Of course, they are still coasters by definition. Other than a couple of their rides, I've never been super-excited about B&Ms stuff. My preference is a more traditional style coaster. I'm not bashing or complaining, I think it just comes down to personal taste. At the same time, they are smart investments for parks. They are reliable, have decent capacity, have a good ROI, and people love them!

 

But wouldn't it stink if everything was either a B&M or Intamin?

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I wouldn't be particularly upset if everything was Intamin.

 

Intamin is definitely more thrilling, but B&M has some worthy elements that Intamin does not do -- dive coaster drops, zero g rolls (Medusa, etc) -- and some of the B&Ms are intense.

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The surprising thing is that Intamin was the first to create the wing coaster concept with Furius Baco and yet they haven't sold another one like it. I'd like to see them try to take that concept and make their own version that uses a more traditional lift and layout to make a more solid comparison (yes, there's Skyrush but it's technically not a full winged coaster, i.e. all seats on the side of the track).

 

As for the B&M version I really like them as it's a different sensation from the more traditional sit down loopers. Whether or not I get airtime is not a big deal to me, though it's a plus if a ride can get my butt off the seat, but when it comes to loopers I look at the various elements that comprise the layout. The wingover drop on a wing coaster is one of the best new style of inversions out there.

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  • 2 months later...

Only one I have been on is wild eagle. The first ride from the front seat was somewhat of a let down. Maybe I was expecting more I don't know. Second ride was last row. Liked it quite a bit. I'm looking forward to trying gatekeeper hopefully in october but we will see.

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I have only been on Wild Eagle, and I love it; the drop is great, and I think the zero g roll is epic. Not having ridden the others, I cannot comment on those, but I would anticipate that I would enjoy them as well.

 

I think it is a great design concept, and the only areas I can think of where they could improve on it would be:

 

-Adjust it so there does not have to be a max height limit on the coaster; I am not sure if this is because of clearance or the restraints but I feel they would have more success with it if they did not have the max-height;

 

-Fix the issue with the restraints tightening. It has never bothered me, but I have friends who have had discomfort from it;

 

-Perfect the rotating seats and develop their own take on the 4D coaster.

 

I would imagine they are working on all of the above. I have thought about it, and if I were building a park where I could only have one major steel coaster, it would likely be a B&M Wing Coaster. I know they are not popular with a lot of people, but the GP loves them, I think they offer a fantastic ride experience, and are visually stunning.

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I've only been on The Swarm, but I really like it. I don't find it forceless, and while it's definitely not the most intense experience out there, it's a unique one. Elements like the dive loop drop and the near misses (although I think these are fairly ineffective on The Swarm), make it something different, and I can't say I've ever experienced the restraint tightening that seems to have been an issue on some of the other coasters.

 

I'd be interested to see where they can take the model, the layout of the Heide Park coaster definitely looks promising, so I guess we'll have to wait and see how that turns out.

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I don't see why enthusiasts say The wing riders are force less. I've ridden Wild Eagle almost too many times to count, and usually every time I grey out a couple of times, especially between the loop and zero g and pulling into the loop. The final helix is pretty forceful too. Although it can't compare to the B&M inverts, floor less, and standard looping coasters for nonstop stick-you-to-your-seat positive gs (like my favorite coaster ever, Kumba), it's still pretty intense. My only complaint is that the inversions seem to be taken too slow, especially the zero g roll. I think this is partially dependent on temperature and the amount of passengers. One day I watched the train almost stall multiple times during a test run when the temp was around 35 degrees.

 

Overall, I love Wild Eagle and (I know some people will say I'm nuts) usually ride it more times than Thunderhead when I'm at DW. The restraints are usually fine. It was only bad one time when they tightened up during the ride, digging some keys I had in my pocket into my leg while we sat on the brake run. I can't wait to ride GK and XF to see how they compare. The main thing I love about the wing riders is the feeling of flying and soaring through the air. WE actually gives you a better sensation of flying than a flying coaster in my opinion.

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I have never been on one but I have a question about the restraints. It looks to be very restricting in those restraints like you can't really put your hands up because of that bar and it looks a lot tighter than open. I guess I am trying to say is are they restricting?

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I think enthusiasts get too hyped up over a new coaster design or a new ride in general, and when it doesn’t blow them away they are upset and call the new ride a failure. When I saw the concept art for X-Flight when it was released, I figured it didn’t look like a top-ten coaster by any stretch of the imagination; instead, I figured it to be a solid ride that offered a different experience than any other ride. After going on it, that was exactly the experience I had. I thought it actually felt more like a flyer with a little more oomph and less complicated restraints, and I was perfectly happy with the ride. This summer I managed to make it to Cedar Point and tried Gatekeeper towards the end of the season and I ended up liking it even a little more than X-Flight. The trick for me is riding in the back seat; you get the hang time on the rollover drop, followed by surprisingly strong forces for a short period, back to the drawn-out flying feeling, and repeat from there. The rides aren’t going to rocket to the top of my coaster lists, but they are at least, for me, an improved flyer that are worth at least a ride or two.

 

Unfortunately, I worry about the sustainability of these coasters due to their design, which is also the big reason you will never find a B&M Wing coaster with intensity along the lines of Batman or Kumba. If you haven’t heard of moments before, jot this down in your textbooks; the farther forces are applied from the center of an object, the greater the moment on the object will be. With the seats located a rather long ways from the center mass of the train, the moment of the train going through drops and turns is higher than other coasters, and there is a reason they are called bending moments. Would you want to be riding a forceful wing coaster when the whole train splits in two down the middle?

 

And that makes me a little curious how much more work the trains will require each year in the future to repair them. The effect of moments adds up after time, so each year it might require more and more work to repair the trains. If B&M has thought ahead, however, and made the trains extra beefy or compensated for the forces, then they should be good to go.

 

And while the harness can be a little bothersome, if you ride it by holding the vest away from you and using it as handles during the ride (“popping the suspenders” I like to say), then your chest will be nice and free during the ride, and no constricting. ^ And I'm not if I'd want to be putting my hands up during the ride anyways. Those keyholes are *pre-tty* tight.

 

So, while wing coasters are the “in” thing now, will they start to show problems in the future? Who knows, but I do know I enjoy the heck out of them. Just expect a different, enjoyable ride and you'll be one happy coaster nerd.

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^^The restrains are kind of restricting but you can put your arms up if you want to. I can say though that I caught Gatekeeper after they fixed the vest issue and I feel sorry for those who had to endure that vest tighten on you because that vest sits right on the collar bone. But as for the coaster style itself I actually liked it. I think Wing Coaster would be better served if they are themed with plenty of near misses along the way however. Gatekeeper problem is that it is just out in the open with the only near miss element being the keyhole and its layout is more fitting for like a floorless style coaster. I will say that hopefully they next park that builds one takes full advantage of the theming possibilities with this type of coaster and I may compact type of layout will do wing coasters more justice.

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For all the complaining about Wing Riders, I would take any Wing Rider I've been on over any flying coaster I've been on. I always feel like I'm hung like a piece of meat about to fall out of the flying coasters (knowing full well I won't, but I just don't find it comfortable at all), while even with the boa constrictor restraints on the Wing Riders, it's doing a lot of the same tricks as a flying coaster, just a lot more comfortably in my opinion.

 

As for why they are getting built - because it's far easier to market a totally different looking ride then it is to market the same thing that you've already got even if the new one is way cooler.

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After Flying Over the Rainforest, I went back from hate to neutral.

How is FOTR any better? It has a great beginning, but a sort of slow ending.

In his report of Ocean Kingdom he said that the ending was crappy but the first half did have some forces and the transitions were "violent" so that must make it better than the others.

Now I wonder if gatekeeper and FOTR are the only ones with those nasty vibrations and, if so, what causes them. Is it the fact they they are the fastest? And it's not like (at least on gatekeeper) your normal roughness, they just had these high-frequency vibrations that were probably made worse by the fact that the restraints glue you to your seat. I wonder what the cause is...

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I don't hate them, nor do I Love them, but I think they are pretty cool. I have only been on Gatekeeper and Wild Eagle. I did not ride either of these until real late in the season this year. I had heard so much crap about how Gatekeeper was so disappointing that I lowered my expectations for it A LOT! I planned on riding it twice, once on both sides but I ended up riding it about 6 or 7 times that day. I really enjoy the back a lot. It wasn't rough for me and I loved watching the front of the train go through all the elements. Wild Eagle I thought was just really fun. I lowered my expectations a lot for these Wing Riders but I enjoyed them, I had fun on them. Yes they aren't the most intense but that's okay, I had fun.

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I don't hate them, nor do I Love them, but I think they are pretty cool.

 

This.

 

I've only ridden on Wild Eagle so far, but I liked the uniqueness of the forces. While it wasn't very intense and isn't a top 10 coaster of mine, I still really enjoyed the different forces that it had compared to any of the coasters I have ridden so far. The far distance you are to the center of gravity of the train really enhances the transitions between elements.

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Flying Over the Rainforest has a surprising first drop, airtime at the last row is very nice, just like Trimming Bull and Wild Fire. Dive Loop is pretty forceful followed by a violent twist. Yes, second half is lame and bumpy, but at least it has something great, not like GateKeeper.

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I'm in the middle on them. After riding X-Flight, I knew what to expect for GateKeeper pretty much and neither one of them gave me a "must ride this again right this second" experience like Maverick did. They're good but nothing amazing. It's pretty much the same feeling I get with all the B&M coasters I've been on so far.

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