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Can a coaster ever be too smooth?

Can a ride ever be too smooth?


  • Total voters
    27

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. After watching some of Shawn Sanbrooke's USA vlogs recently and hearing some of his opinions on these rides, I thought of an interesting question to ask you guys. An attribute of a coaster that is commonly seen as positive by many enthusiasts is smoothness, but would you ever say that a coaster could be too smooth?

I know I'm going to be in a minority saying this, but I'd personally say that I don't think a coaster could ever be too smooth for my liking. Call me strange, but I am not really a fan of rough rides or rides that cause me pain; I would personally rather ride a gentle coaster than a rough coaster. I also value comfort and rerideability a lot in a coaster; with my very top coasters, I get off them with an immediate urge to reride and feeling like I've had an outstanding experience. If I come off a coaster immediately wanting to reride, then that for me is a sign that it should rank highly for me; in my eyes, smoothness can add a lot to a coaster's rerideability, so I don't personally believe that a ride can ever be too smooth.

However, I often sometimes hear people criticise coasters for being too smooth and "not having enough character". I often hear this sort of criticism aimed at rides such as the Intamin pre-fabs, for example; Shawn Sanbrooke, for example, came off Colossos at Heide Park following its retrack and said that it was "too smooth" and that he would have liked it to have been rougher and to have had more "character" so to speak. He aimed similar criticism at Iron Rattler on his recent USA trip; he said that it was "too tame" and he would have preferred "a rougher, more rickety ride that was more wild".

But do you think that a ride can ever be too smooth?
 

Furiustobaco

New Member
I think some rides can be too smooth and graceful (B&M Wings, Valravn, Air, Raging Bull)
These rides are butter smooth but just lack force or anything that keeps me interested. Like B&M wings honestly just put me to sleep, even Gatekeeper i found to be just kinda okay.

In a coaster i value airtime and intensity, rides like Maverick or Steel Vengeance are my favourites, rides that are intense and smooth.
I do rank Millennium Force and Blue Fire still fairly high though for having a standout moment or two and being incredibly fun and re-ridable experiences.
 

CenturyFlyer

New Member
Personally, I find wooden coasters can't be too smooth; it kind of ruins the purpose of the material if each ride is the same. (It can certainly go too far, though.) On steel, it's really all about the air/hangtime. If there's none of that, then the ride becomes boring. Just my thoughts.
 

UP87

New Member
Colossos' isn't a typical wooden coaster since its drive wheels are not made of metal but of polyurethane. So freshly retracked it's really close to a steel coaster.
 

VikingsAf

Member
I think a lot of people are mixing up roughness with intensity.
A coaster can be super smooth, yet super intense (or worse the other way around, super rough and not intense)

I do agree though that a wooden coaster gets it's character from roughness. It should be a bumpy ride
 

Tomatron

Active Member
No. If a coaster is super smooth, it's either been well engineered, well looked after, or both. Neither of those are a bad thing, and whilst people would agree that a bit of roughness can add character to a ride, there's no much thing as a ride being too smooth.

I'll talk about the examples that have already been mentioned in the first page, because I've done them both and I'm going to disagree with both those opinions. I rode Colossus about 3 months before it became SBNO in 2016, and it really needed retracking everywhere. The straight parts when the train is running at 60-70mph should not have been as rough as they were, and the turns were atrocious. So if it's now as smooth as people as saying it is, then great. Put yourself in the park's shoes as well - given the amount of bad PR they've had because of Colossus being down, they will want a ride which the vast majority of people will enjoy, want to reride, and have great memories of.

As for Iron Rattler, bitch please. Where do I even start? To call it 'too tame' (and I know I'm going off second-hand sources here because I can't stomach watching those vlogs) is naive beyond belief. Unless they only rode the part of the ride that's on top of the cliff and got off before it dives in to the tunnel near the end. Also, if you haven't had a history lesson about the ride that used to stand in its place, I'll explain. The former coaster that RMC revamped was by all accounts nothing less than brutal. So much so that the first drop was raised nearly 50ft, and the track was extensively reprofiled to stop it beating the crap out of the punters, and tearing itself to pieces. So when Fiesta Texas come to the decision to redo the Rattler, they're looking to bury the past. The whole point of the conversion was to breathe life in to what was a terrible, body-shattering experience and make it in to an attraction that was none of these things. And because it's the polar opposite of the former ride, Iron Rattler is now one the best coasters in the world.

Thunderhead is also another example I'm gonna talk about, because the first half of the ride which has been retracked is glorious. It's smooth but it's got character, and feels like what people would perceive a wooden coaster to be like. The second half is rough as a badger's arse, and needs retracking badly. That's not character, that's in need of some new wood.

But I'll finish up the Ultimate, which is the exception. It is ridiculously brutal at points, and hysterically engineered, but it's such a fun ride despite this. If it weren't rough, I'd probably still enjoy it, but wouldn't come off laughing my head off.

In short, no ride can be too smooth. Except the Ultimate, and I'm glad that it isn't.
 

Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
The smoother the better in my opinion. Loved gliding around on Valravn for example, felt like I was flying...weee! Sure, roughness can bring character - but, for me, it is mostly distracting and takes away from the coaster experience.
 

Boodangy

New Member
Yes, but only if the coaster also doesn't have any real forces, ala old loopers like Python at Efteling. After the retrack it's amazingly smooth yes, but you don't actually really feel anything on it anymore because they also smoothed out the ride experience. Otherwise no, so it depends. I wouldn't be surprised if enthusiasts are out there conflating smoothness with just a lack of g-forces, where the already mentioned Colossos is a fantastic example of a coaster with strong forces and a smooth ride.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
I'll talk about the examples that have already been mentioned in the first page, because I've done them both and I'm going to disagree with both those opinions. I rode Colossus about 3 months before it became SBNO in 2016, and it really needed retracking everywhere. The straight parts when the train is running at 60-70mph should not have been as rough as they were, and the turns were atrocious. So if it's now as smooth as people as saying it is, then great. Put yourself in the park's shoes as well - given the amount of bad PR they've had because of Colossus being down, they will want a ride which the vast majority of people will enjoy, want to reride, and have great memories of.

As for Iron Rattler, bitch please. Where do I even start? To call it 'too tame' (and I know I'm going off second-hand sources here because I can't stomach watching those vlogs) is naive beyond belief. Unless they only rode the part of the ride that's on top of the cliff and got off before it dives in to the tunnel near the end. Also, if you haven't had a history lesson about the ride that used to stand in its place, I'll explain. The former coaster that RMC revamped was by all accounts nothing less than brutal. So much so that the first drop was raised nearly 50ft, and the track was extensively reprofiled to stop it beating the crap out of the punters, and tearing itself to pieces. So when Fiesta Texas come to the decision to redo the Rattler, they're looking to bury the past. The whole point of the conversion was to breathe life in to what was a terrible, body-shattering experience and make it in to an attraction that was none of these things. And because it's the polar opposite of the former ride, Iron Rattler is now one the best coasters in the world.
In terms of Colossos, I must admit that I'm surprised that it was so rough before the retrack; I thought the idea of the pre-fabs was to be as smooth as a steel coaster? Judging by everyone's descriptions, I almost think I'd prefer a Colossos-style ride to a wooden coaster with "character", as glass smooth, rerideable rides tend to be more my sort of thing than traditional wooden coasters, although I've admittedly ridden some good woodies. I'm with you in that I don't think a coaster can ever be too smooth.

In terms of Iron Rattler, I must admit that even though the pacing in the cliffside section looks slower than that of some other RMCs, it still looks perfectly fast enough, and the cliffside drops on Iron Rattler look fantastic! I like Shawn and his videos, but I must admit that I was somewhat surprised at Shawn's opinion regarding Iron Rattler; he even preferred Poltergeist and the S&S Freespin within the park, which surprised me even more. Then again, Judge Roy Scream is apparently his favourite coaster in Texas, although he missed out on NTG, Wonder Woman and Superman Krypton Coaster.
 

Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
I think yes, not that super smoothness detracts from a ride, but can often indicate an element or portion of ride that is slow/not aggressive. Looking at my Top 10, there are a number of roller coasters I would call smooth, but not "too smooth".
 

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
I'll be another depends. Depends on the type of ride and what you're looking for from it.

It shouldn't really apply to steels. Other than a few amusing cases of roughness that make a fundamentally poor ride a bit more fun (Ultimate was a good example above), smoothness should usually be a positive - it lets you feel all the intended forces without distraction.
I could understand here that if a ride doesn't have much to offer in the way of forces anyway, then being extra smooth could enhance the feeling that it is boring.

I'm not sure it even applies to woodies for me. Specifically on the pre-fab discussion - some of those may ride smooth, but I've never seen that as a specific negative for them. The thing that (very slightly) bothers me about them is the predictability of the layouts. Adding roughness to that wouldn't really change anything, until it reached that Colossos stage, which was awful.
I do personally prefer a bit of shake, rattle and roll in my woodie but that seems to come hand in hand with the layouts that I prefer anyway. I see no reason for roughness to be essential, as long as the ride is great to begin with.

Interesting to see 'character' being used that way a lot here. Might just be me but I've never defined that by/associated it with roughness alone. To me it's more about an illusion of personality in a ride - built by reputation, interesting quirks, unique sensations, (not cloning it). It's in the art of the ride, not the science.
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
In terms of Colossos, I must admit that I'm surprised that it was so rough before the retrack; I thought the idea of the pre-fabs was to be as smooth as a steel coaster? Judging by everyone's descriptions, I almost think I'd prefer a Colossos-style ride to a wooden coaster with "character", as glass smooth, rerideable rides tend to be more my sort of thing than traditional wooden coasters, although I've admittedly ridden some good woodies. I'm with you in that I don't think a coaster can ever be too smooth.
The prefabs are pretty smooth. I think you missed the bit where they let it rot for nearly two decades. ;)
 

Tomatron

Active Member
In terms of Iron Rattler, I must admit that even though the pacing in the cliffside section looks slower than that of some other RMCs, it still looks perfectly fast enough, and the cliffside drops on Iron Rattler look fantastic! I like Shawn and his videos, but I must admit that I was somewhat surprised at Shawn's opinion regarding Iron Rattler; he even preferred Poltergeist and the S&S Freespin within the park, which surprised me even more. Then again, Judge Roy Scream is apparently his favourite coaster in Texas, although he missed out on NTG, Wonder Woman and Superman Krypton Coaster.
Spite aside, that’s cos they’re talking out of their arses. I took the liberty of watching the vlog and it’s just all kinds of awful. Even the cliff top bit on Iron Rattler is actually fun. The rest of it is just amazing.

It’s probably also a good time to have a rant about The Voyage, which I really want to like, but just can’t. First time ai ride it in 2007 with 7-car PTCs, the first airtime hills were great, but the rest of the ride was violent AF. Probably why it got retracked so much in its early years. The second half after the midcourse was bonkers, largely because the brakes were turned off. And I didn’t mind this, because like the Ultimate, it was funny. But on my last visit 4 years ago, despite the first half now being totally joyous and brilliant, with just the right amount of roughness, the brakes on the MCBR were very much on, and the second half was awful - you were bouncing your way all the way back to the station, and not in a fun way.

I wish it had the first half it does now, along with the second half from 2007. That would be perfect.
 
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