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How can I tell the difference between an Arrow and a Vekoma?


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The title kinda says it all! Yeah, I know that Arrow had a new track with curved rails, but it used to have a track really similar to Vekoma, notably on their "Corkscrew" models. So tell me coaster experts of TPR, how can I tell the difference between an Arrow track and a Vekoma track?

 

VEKOMA

 

ARROW

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^HaHa!!

 

^^Looking at the track itself is hard (Damn near impossible). Fabriweld manufactured track for both companies thus why they look identical. You would need to look at the trains themselves but even then it's not a for sure thing as there's Vekomas that have Arrow trains and vice-versa.

 

Vekoma train

 

 

 

Arrow train

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Your best bet is probably by looking at the supports. Arrows usually have lattice supports for the higher-up track sections and on their older inversions, and the lower sections of track are typically vertical pylons. Arrow stuck by this for much of its existence, and there are exceptions, but generally that's what I've found is the easiest. Of course, there's Ninja at SFOG, which was built by both Arrow AND Vekoma...

 

Mostly it's a matter of intuition and just plain research, and then it's easy to pick them apart. Just don't fall for the Chinese knockoff lookalikes!

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Apart from the aforementioned minor track differences, when you see enough of both types it won't be hard to peg the manufacturer based on the ride's style/layout. There are exceptions, but for the most part Arrow seems to have had simpler designs.

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I've noticed that Arrow Corkscrew coasters tend to "sprawl" out over a larger area than Vekoma Corkscrews, at least when it comes to the older models, which tend to look a bit "scrunched up."

 

Here's the Vekoma at Flamingoland (UK).

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Very simple.

 

Just go to RCDB and you'll know it.

Not so simple - How about the St. Louis Ninja OR...the Crazy [sex Drug] Roller Coaster in China? Those two were started by Arrow and finished by Vekoma. Sounds like your worst nightmare, yeah?

 

Al all seriousness though, I would say that you look at the trains first. If the trains are Arrow trains, look at the supports. If there aren't any lattice supports, you've got yourself a Vekoma.

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I've noticed that Arrow Corkscrew coasters tend to "sprawl" out over a larger area than Vekoma Corkscrews, at least when it comes to the older models, which tend to look a bit "scrunched up."

 

That was mostly due to the idea that the older Whirlwind models were also aimed at the portable market. They never set a foot there as another coaster manufacturer had this market cornered in the 60s to 80s...

 

I personally do not care much if the coaster is made by Vekoma or Arrow - as long as they have the new Vekoma trains with those seatbelt-like rubber-OTSR running. These trains make the coasters quite enjoyable.

walibi20.jpg.f6df34fc1bfe34e729e091e2405fcf7e.jpg

Vekoma builds trains that make Arrow/Vekoma loopers fun

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What I noticed a a little more than a year ago was that Vekoma's ties seemed more, "clustered" if you will. The ties on Arrow's were a bit more spaced. This makes the Vekoma track a bit bulky looking in contrast to Arrow's. It's hard to make it out since the change is so subtle, but I'm able to distinguish between the two company's tracks, and like stated, you always want to look at the supports to confirm your assumptions.

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Looking at the track itself is hard (Damn near impossible). Fabriweld manufactured track for both companies thus why they look identical. You would need to look at the trains themselves but even then it's not a for sure thing as there's Vekomas that have Arrow trains and vice-versa.

 

Vekoma train

Actually, Vekoma track does have one distinctive trait that you can see in the foreground of that photo: the bolts through the running rail at a track joint. There's generally a kind of stairstep design where two sections of track mesh together, secured by a couple of bolts. I don't think I've seen an Arrow ride with that type of design.

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^Yeah I'm not sure but there is something (while watching POVs, for instance) that tells you that they are either a Vekoma or an Arrow. I get the impression that arrows have fewer of those joints connecting the rails to the tubular centre but I'm not entirely sure.

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Actually, Vekoma track does have one distinctive trait that you can see in the foreground of that photo: the bolts through the running rail at a track joint. There's generally a kind of stairstep design where two sections of track mesh together, secured by a couple of bolts. I don't think I've seen an Arrow ride with that type of design.

 

Good observation. Never noticed that.

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One difference I've noticed in Arrow and Vekomas are the sound of their lifts. Arrow has always had a that distinct sound of the anti-roll backs and while some Vekoma's sound like that, I've noticed the sound of a motor the top of the lift on their coasters (Like on SLCs). A majority of Vekoma's lifts are quiet too which I find surprising since they both use the same tracks and most of the times, same trains. Maybe Vekoma has a different anti-roll back system for their rides.

 

Arrow lift hill:

 

Vekoma lift hill:

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the ties have consistent and close spacing on every vekoma, whereas they are a bit more random and sparse in places on arrow coasters.

 

Vekoma-

 

(dense ties on both coasters with consistent spacing)

 

Arrow-

 

 

(notice the turn after the corkscrew and the track coming out of the ground, where the ties are sparse)

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  • 3 years later...

One thing I've noticed is the shaping. Vekomas seem to transition from element to element more seamlessly (i.e. banking into turns), whereas Arrows seem to be more boxy, for lack of better terms (i.e. banking on a straight section and then going into turns). Arrow transitions tend to jerk the car more.

2103994591_ScreenShot2017-08-31at11_09_50PM.thumb.png.802b81c10b6c042f2983414fa2443de7.png

1492259047_ScreenShot2017-08-31at11_10_04PM.thumb.png.4392bde91ca2eda3f4f630badb139ba2.png

Notice how the track doesn't start banking on this Vekoma (Big Loop) until just as it enters the turn, and the amount banking changes throughout the turn.

maxresdefault-51.thumb.jpg.c3b0a7a0812bbd93e820383f55f5fde5.jpg

maxresdefault-52.thumb.jpg.4428e6fb4ca37d2d4adf624b8ba6d4df.jpg

On this Arrow (Viper) the track banks on a straight section. The amount of banking doesn't change much during the turn, as the track is almost at its full banking already as it enters a turn.

 

This is just a little thing I've noticed. Hope it helps.

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