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The "perfect" roller coaster


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If you were a coaster engineer, what would you do?

 

I was thinking something along the lines of an RMC giga with a 90mph top gun stall, super twisty overbank madness, quadruple-downs, triple-downs, double-downs, and single-downs in the first half (and a good 3 minutes on that half), then hit the MCBR and go into another 180ft lift hill that leads into an inversion-packed spaghetti bowl with plenty of powerful and forceful positive (and negative) g's. The ride would be located on a giant lake next to a forest that's on a cliff, and the ride would have multiple drops off of the cliff, a ton of headchoppers on the trees, and a splashdown or two in the lake. It would last around 6-7 minutes with no trims. (Now I want to make this in TPS, lol)

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If you were a coaster engineer, what would you do?

 

I was thinking something along the lines of an RMC giga with a 90mph top gun stall, super twisty overbank madness, quadruple-downs, triple-downs, double-downs, and single-downs in the first half (and a good 3 minutes on that half), then hit the MCBR and go into another 180ft lift hill that leads into an inversion-packed spaghetti bowl with plenty of powerful and forceful positive (and negative) g's. The ride would be located on a giant lake next to a forest that's on a cliff, and the ride would have multiple drops off of the cliff, a ton of headchoppers on the trees, and a splashdown or two in the lake. It would last around 6-7 minutes with no trims. (Now I want to make this in TPS, lol)

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The "perfect roller coaster" huh? I'd personally take the few flaws in Intimidator 305, add a more immersive theme (aka something like what Taron promises to be) vary the forces a bit more throughout the layout so there is some more airtime, and add some great restraints. Incorporate the front entrance in said park too and some underground dives.

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In my opinion the "perfect" coaster would be a coaster that doesn't rely on gimmicks or insane height and speed stats, but a coaster that's just so well designed and so much fun that all the innovation in the world would never do anything to impact the public's opinion of it. I'm not saying that a super tall or super fast ride can't be considered perfect, I'm just saying that it would need an amazing layout to go along with those stats so that when something bigger and faster comes along it's still just as highly regarded.

 

When I use the term "gimmick", I don't mean for that to be a bad thing, but I don't know if I would say a ride that relies on them, or just insane speeds or heights is "perfect" either. For example... I love Kingda Ka and Top Thrill Dragster but I don't consider them perfect rides. I love Millennium Force and Fury 325 but If coasters innovate to the point where they're similar but higher and faster those rides may not be so highly regarded because a lot of the appeal of those rides is due to that insane height and speed. A perfect example of this would be what just happened at Carowinds where Intimidator, a ride that last year was considered by most non enthusiasts to be the star attraction in the park (even though Afterburn is clearly better) is now COMPLETELY overshadowed by Fury in every single way.

 

The rides that come to mind for me are rides like Maverick, Nemesis and Kumba... rides that are great just because they have great layouts and they don't rely on gimmicks at all (except maybe Maverick just a little) which means 30-40 years from now if they're well maintained people will probably still love them as much as they do now despite 30-40 years of coaster innovations of manufacturers pushing the limits and raising expectations for what thrill rides should be.

 

With that being said, there is one coaster that comes to mind for me as being absolutely perfect, the Phoenix. Do I routinely sip the Knoebels Kool Aid for breakfast, lunch and dinner? You bet. But hear me out on this...

 

In coaster polls, Phoenix has already proven that it has staying power that's completely unmatched by anything. The Mitch Hakwer poll started in 1994 and it was ranked at #4. 20 years later it was ranked at #5. Only 3 of the other coasters in the top 48 were even built back in 1994. Tons and tons of coasters were overhyped and ranked above Phoenix or in the same company as the Phoenix but over time they dropped way down in the ratings as the next big thing came along and overshadowed them. That never happened to Phoenix (a coaster that's now well over 60 years old).

 

Now there's a coaster renaissance going on where people are taking old wood coasters and making them do barrel rolls, near vertical drops and insane zero g stalls. I rode Wicked Cyclone last weekend and it's so innovative and so groundbreaking that as much as I love classic wood coasters, Wicked Cyclone immediately overtook all but one of them in my top 10 list. Of course that one is the Phoenix, which doesn't need zero g rolls, ridiculous transitions, near vertical drops or any gimmicks whatsoever to be one of the best coasters in the world. It just needs an absolutely perfect layout and a great maintenance team.

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The perfect coaster would be a multiple-launch shuttle coaster that started at my front door and ended at both Hershey or Knoebels, with a switch in the track to choose between them. There would be two sets of LIMs on the track so that it can launch forwards and backwards, thereby bringing me to either park and then back home.

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For me the perfect coaster is Helix. It has decent length, both airtime and inversions with only a lapbar and comfortable trains in general. Its design clearly shows a lot of thought put into it (for example the curve before the first launch that was moved in order to save the super old tree) and there's even a video about the iteration process Helix went through:

. The queue and station are one of the best I've been in and the music is superb. The mechanics' side is also presented as it has a large maintenance area, and I've heard that every time a train arrives at the station, a bar test is done automatically before the bars open! It's super fast and indistinguishable, plus it adds so much to the safety as it's done every time and not just once a day before opening.

 

Praise Helix

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Something with descent length and pacing is what I look forward to the most. Bone-crushing G's don't really make a ride "good" in any aspect other than detracting from the overall ride experience. *cough* I305 *cough* Steep drops and strategically placed acceleration and G forces are what create some of the most amazing coasters.

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For me Skyrush is a nearly perfect coaster. It's not because of the awful restraints: it has the height, steepness, decent length, great Gs (positive and negative) and overall a great pacing.

For me the perfect coaster is Helix. It has decent length, both airtime and inversions with only a lapbar and comfortable trains in general. Its design clearly shows a lot of thought put into it (for example the curve before the first launch that was moved in order to save the super old tree) and there's even a video about the iteration process Helix went through:
. The queue and station are one of the best I've been in and the music is superb. The mechanics' side is also presented as it has a large maintenance area, and I've heard that every time a train arrives at the station, a bar test is done automatically before the bars open! It's super fast and indistinguishable, plus it adds so much to the safety as it's done every time and not just once a day before opening.

 

Praise Helix

I haven't ridden helix and I've heard mixed reviews but I think the layout kind of follows the idea of a perfect ride with, like you said, a great blend of airtime and inversions and what looks like a good pacing. I suppose if I "could" I'd make the second launch more forceful and replace the first with a lift hill and steep drop. That way you'd get both a launch and the anticipation of going up a lift on the same ride.

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My perfect idea of a roller coaster is any one where the enthusiasts don't cry about or boast, "This is what they should have done."

 

If that doesn't work I'll settle for:

1.) Raging Bull - pre trimmed

2.) Mr. Freeze - pre reverse gimmick blast

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I would love Intamin to tackle another Giga after what they learned, liked, and didn't like of Intimidator 305 and be given a bit more money.

 

From B&M, now that they're in the 300 ft. range, I wonder how far they could push the dive machine concept before the G's get to strong. I'm a huge fan of Griffon and Sheikra even though they lack forces, so a significantly taller dive machine would be great if a park would put out the money.

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I want a ride with a long out-and-back layout like the Voyage, that starts with two camelbacks as powerful as the ones on El Toro, then goes into laterals as sustained and heavy as the Legend mixed with a couple super-whippy inversions, with a row of four crazy bunny hops for a finale. Perfect.

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For a while I have wondered what a B&M hyper would look like, but instead of the normal lift hill, it would be a launch followed by a gigantic airtime hill. Basically continue with this with two airtime hills followed by a turnaround similar to Fury 325's after it crosses the entrance. After this element, it should follow up with more airtime hills, yet this time with different heights of drops, similar to Nitro. This could give the sense that the ride is almost over, but seconds later you would get thrown into a larger hill than the previous. The last feature (which has none to do with the ride course) is where the on ride photo should be taken. I would love to see, on a traditional coaster, a photo on the first drop and some peoples reactions to it, but because it features a launch rather than a lift hill, it should be at the end of the launch zone and before the first hill. This might not be the perfect coaster, but it is an idea I have had planted in my head for a while.

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Alright, stick with me on this one (because it is about to sound like a massive gimmick.) I saw there was a post for a launched B&M Hyper, and that's around what I was thinking. However, I love launches, and I love airtime. Start with the frame of a Intamin, using the same launch system as TTD, however only going to a 92 mph benchmark, and sending the coaster into a 254 ft airtime hill, straight into a lowish over-bank, around the 125 foot mark. Then it makes a twisting style airtime hill, like those found on the Mega-Lites, up and around the first hill, followed by a series of Fury like flowing low overbanks under, around, and over the station, making for some awesome flyby effects. Then a airtime hill or two, followed by a turn, into a tighter version of the MF pretzel looking section, into more airtime hills, into a couple more tight turns, into the brake run. An idea that will never happen I know, however it would be my perfect coaster, probably.

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I would merge Indiana Jones & Everest. I kind of picture an Indiana Jones like dark ride, where during the escape from the rolling ball, you hit the launch section of the ride and escape out into the jungle / mountains into high speed roller coaster section.

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