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The definition of a Roller coaster


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It's always been an argument in the coaster community as to what the definition of a "true" roller coaster is. And now with the new pipe scream ride at cedar point, the argument has come into light again. Personally, I don't consider pipe scream a coaster, but cedar point does. What are your thoughts on this?

 

My thoughts on weather or not it's a coaster or not come down to this criteria.....

 

1. Full circuit. Enters and exits the station at different ends.

2. A coaster train

3. Has a lift,launch, or drop right out of the station.

 

The exceptions to "my" rules are boomerang coasters and shuttle launch coasters.

 

O-k.......Let's settle this argument once and for all.

Cedar-Point-Pipe-Scream.jpg.f3010b27d77ab82ccd6ac00656c5fc3c.jpg

Is this really a coaster?

101_2720__medium_.jpg.6e174434fa03e07af5264be5c0d41f07.jpg

What about this?

wt1.jpg.f677d99d4f9d8b94fed534275155a0be.jpg

Or this?

st_6.jpg.a77615dd593113f5e103fcfd06be0a69.jpg

This would be a full circuit coaster.

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This is fairly difficult because the definition can be pulled to extremes, but I believe that Pipe Scream isn't a coaster. I believe the only type of coaster that I wouldn't consider a real coaster would be the powered ones. For me, a real coaster has to work by gravity for most of the ride. Pipe Scream probably has a propulsion system closer to what a pirate ship has than a true coaster. Also the train on this ride is too different for me from most coaster trains to be considered a real coaster train. Again, the definition can be pulled to extremes... But to me that ride isn't a coaster.

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^They were once considered coasters when it was a newer technology--I've seen Demon Drop listed as part of Cedar Point's coaster collection in a coaster book. I'm a bit surprised this isn't discussed much, but I guess it's old news.

 

I guess it partly depends on if you're referring to "credits" or a strict technical definition (seems to be the latter). For credits, there are several existing threads, so I won't go into it, but my rules are based on a mix of RCDB and Coaster-Count. I believe launchers, shuttle coasters and the like are coasters if generally considered to be so, and I get why powered coasters aren't "coasters" but still count them (plus some may be marginally gravity-powered in parts).

 

Are Disk'Os and the like not considered coasters because they're actually powered and Half Pipe-style coasters are not (or less so)? Or is it just because they're seen as more of a flat ride and it simply goes against the spirit of things for enthusiasts to call them coasters? Not a big deal to me so I haven't really read up on it.

 

I definitely don't believe that "if a park or manufacturer calls something a coaster, then it automatically is." This doesn't mean it's wrong or misleading for them to say so, but I've seen things advertised as coasters that don't qualify by any common enthusiast measures, like (non-coaster) water rides and Larson Super Loops/Ring of Fire/Fireball rides.

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I don't feel the first gen drop towers are "really" coasters. Sure, they have a lift and are on a track. But to me those type of rides are "coaster like". Pipe Scream fits in a "coaster like " category to me. I feel its a Flat ride. Just as one can say a tumble bug is "coaster like", its not a coaster. That's a stretch to me to call it a coaster. If one really wants to stretch it, why not consider Bayern Curve a coaster, or a Himalaya type ride ? They are on a track with hills too. Another question then is, if Pipe Scream is a coaster, does that make Rockin Tugs coasters too?

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What about water coasters? At which point are they considered "coasters"? I assume rides like poséidon at Europa Park are coasters but then I don't really consider atlantica supersplash one. Anyone has a clear definition on this area?

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^That is definitely a gray area, and I can't help since I just lazily go with what RCDB says. I think this is a case where people have taken the labels given by manufacturers into account? I don't believe that the mere presence of water, or a flume section of any length, or elements more common to water rides, means something isn't a roller coaster. But there are some hybrid rides that are considered coasters that are very similar to log flumes or other rides that are not.

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I consider something a coaster when the train goes upward without the help of anything but it's own momentum.

 

So that rules out anything powered and alpine slides.

 

But I have two exceptions to my rule: butterfly-coasters and water rides with just a single hill. So Poseiden is a coaster, while Atlantica isn't. Yeah, logic

 

A random butterfly "coaster"

 

The water ride at Klotten, which could technically be considered a coaster, but not in my book.

Edited by hyyyper
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Here is my definition of a roller coaster:

 

-It must be a car/train that runs on rails or in a trough. (This eliminates water coasters and water slides)

-Other than the lift hill, launch section, etc, it must be powered by gravity (eliminating Powered Coasters).

-It does not need to be a full circuit.

-The station can be anywhere.

-The cars themselves must not have motors/other systems to power them throughout the course of a ride.

 

That's my definition of a roller coaster. I think it might also include Zamperla Disk'Os, but I'm not sure how a Zamperla Disk'O works.

Edited by yay101
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Here is my definition of a roller coaster:

 

-It must be a car/train that runs on rails or in a trough. (This eliminates water coasters and water slides)

-Other than the lift hill, launch section, etc, it must be powered by gravity (eliminating Powered Coasters).

-It does not need to be a full circuit.

-The station can be anywhere.

-The cars themselves must not have motors/other systems to power them throughout the course of a ride.

 

That's my definition of a roller coaster.

 

What about this.........?

It's a powered coaster with motors in the train.

sf0095_722.jpg.f7dfb4b910a46bade3737f9a53dc83d1.jpg

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^Correct me if I'm wrong but the motors in Whizzer only power it up the lift hill, not through the whole course. If it's not in use after the lift hill, it doesn't matter. The lift hill/launch section doesn't count in the definition because there are so many ways to bring a coaster to full speed! I think Whizzer is gravity-powered (except for some brakes) after the lift hill. Correct me if I'm wrong.

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I would consider a roller coaster as a ride that a car or series of cars uses it's own potential energy (height from a lift hill) or kinetic energy (such as from a launch) to propel itself through its course without the continued use of a powered mechanical system (hydraulic, electric, or otherwise). Shuttles do count as coasters. IMO powered "coasters" while I will refer to them as powered coasters as a type of ride, are not true coasters (as they don't coast). As far was water coasters, if the gravity acting on the car/train is what is propelling the vehicle through the course, then I'd consider it a coaster. If a current in the water is what primarily propels the vehicle, then no, not a coaster. As far as the Disko, if it has a motor that pulls it through the course completely, then I'd put it in the "powered coaster" category. If it's "towed" to the top of the spikes on either side, and gravity pulls it through the course, then I'd say it's a coaster.

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is a first gen drop tower a coaster?

 

I think it should be! I mean, it runs on rails, is powered by gravity, and there's even a roller coaster-style brake run!

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I don't think there is a straight answer here, but my $0.02:

 

1) Eye test: does it look like a coaster(no disk'os)

2) On water rides, is it on rcdb, otherwise i have no idea to figure out water coasters vs flumes

 

Unsure about half pipes/powered coasters, i usually refer back to my rule 1.

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^I count half-pipes as they are basically a non-inverted impulse coaster. But Disk'Os are powered along the whole track, so even if they have word 'coaster' in the name I don't count them.

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If the water ride is at least 50% coaster track, it's a coaster. Atlantis Adventure, JTA/Supersplash are considered coasters.

If the ride runs in a trough and doesn't use water, I consider it a coaster.

If it's powered by gravity or has a launch, it's a coaster. - That being said, it has to run on a track to meet the criteria

A powered coaster is still technically a coaster at heart. I'll classify them that way.

 

Diskos aren't coasters.

First gen Intamin towers aren't coasters

Water slides and log flumes aren't coasters.

Test Track, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Radiator Springs Racers aren't coasters

 

Half pipe coasters are coasters.

Escape from Krypton is a coaster

Butterflies are sorta that grey area. I'll classify them as coasters for the hell of it.

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I just lazily go with what RCDB and Coaster Grotto (yeah I still use them for my coaster count) say. If you want to get technical I would say Intamin 1st gens and Disko's could be considered coasters but I think some common sense has to be used when defining coasters, there can't be a clear cut set of rules.

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I mostly go by this with steel coasters: A single car - or multiple cars linked to form a train - which use a wheel assembly to run on a steel track...by this I rate:

 

- Alpine Coasters: Yes

- Powered Coasters: Yes

- Water Coasters: Yes - but only those which are always running on an steel track even inside water like KumBak's "De Vliegende Hollander" at Efteling, meaning the boats do not float classically and do not run inside a "tube" for the coaster part

 

Exceptions - as always:

- Bobsled coasters

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