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CoasterForce's Favourite Roller Coasters - 2021 Edition

Hyde

Matt SR
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
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Another year, another comparison of our top 10 roller coasters! I believe the CF Team speaks for all when we say this year was both better-but-not-quite-back-to-pre-Covid-status. While response rates to this year's poll were lower, we actually saw a wider variety of coasters across rankings!

CF assembled our hit team of calculators, analysts, interns, and academics to scour over the polling results, as is tradition each November/December. Props as always goes to @Pokemaniac for assembling all submitted member Top 10's, and @Hixee for helping with other graphical, editorial, metaphorical, and euphorial support.

Methodology

One of the most visited threads in the General Discussions section of the forums is the "Top 10-ish" thread, where people rank their ten (or more) most favourite coasters. We have combed through the thread and collected all the Top 10 lists posted over the past year, from November 1, 2020 to October 31, 2021ish (given the lower turnout, we let others sneak under the radar this year). Let us compare details on CF's top 25!

The Top 25

RankRoller CoasterAverage RankingAverage Ranking/FrequencyNumber of #1 RankingsNumber of Rides
1Steel Vengeance1.640.09818
2Zadra3.110.22514
3Lightning Rod3.130.24313
4Taron4.730.30316
5Voyage4.460.30315
6Skyrush5.430.36115
7Helix4.890.41212
8El Toro5.200.43112
9Untamed4.330.4819
10Hyperion5.000.5629
11Maverick6.200.62010
12Nemesis6.250.63110
13Shambhala6.570.66010
14Outlaw Run5.750.7218
15Ride to Happiness1.500.7512
15Icon3.750.7515
17Fury 3257.000.7809
18Expedition GeForce7.330.8109
19X26.860.8608
20Velocicoaster3.670.9204
21Time Traveler2.001.0002
21Kondaa3.001.0003
21Intimidator 3055.001.0015
24Twisted Timbers6.251.0406
25Phoenix7.601.0907


Key Thoughts/Takeaways
  • Single Riders! - A general issue we saw with this year's poll was a lot of 1 rider entries (58 roller coasters returned with only 1 rider, nearly 50% of all submitted roller coasters). This creates a sampling bias, those roller coasters highly ranked on 1 rider will significantly boost ahead of other roller coasters with more riders, skewing the poll. As result, we had to increase our polling threshold to a minimum of 2 riders.
  • Strong Debut for 2021 New Coasters - VelociCoaster, Ride to Happiness, and Kondaa all lead a very strong field of new entries this year, cracking into the top 25 on relatively lower rider count - yet promising trajectory to ever rise in the rankings as more CFers get to visit.
  • Zadra, Top Coaster in 2022? - Zadra saw a significant boost in the rankings, climbing to #2, only barely underneath Steel Vengeance in our calculus. Indeed, SV may be sweating as more get to visit Zadra as the relatively-new-RMC on the block.
  • Mack Launched Spinners Continue to Impress - The biggest winner in terms of poll movement this year was Time Traveler, jumping a whopping 86 spots to #21. Ride to Happiness also debuted at #15 this year; promising marks!
  • RMC and Intamin Tighten Their Hold on the Top 10 - It's getting pretty crowded at the top, as Hyperion bumped Fury 325 out of the Top 10 this year, a first time in three years that B&M does not place in the top 10. Outside of RMC and Intamin's commanding leads, Mack and Gravity Group are the only two manufacturers to make a placement. While there is significant motion year-to-year in the 11-25 ranking slots, the Top 10 appears to cement further and further year over year.

Looking at CFers #1 picks, Steel Vengeance continues to lead the majority, but other coasters are quick approaching (going back to Zadra continuing to gain):
1640875687537.png

As usual, we have a few graphs to further breakdown CF's top roller coasters, which you can view in the full spreadsheet link at the end of the post. For starters, here is a map of average roller coaster ranking vs. number of rides. The higher a roller coaster is charted on towards the upper left, the higher it is in the ranking. I have also added a trend line to add further clarity:

1640803933193.png

As was the case last year, charting out the roller coaster average rankings by number of rides shows a high correlation with their ranking. Steel Vengeance still takes a definitive runaway victory, each way we slice the chart!

1640875716798.png
You may notice a number of roller coaster that have different average rankings vs. average rankings/rides. If we ranked roller coasters based on average rank alone, it's a rather different result. Overall, we still prefer to consider over number of rides, to help ensure the rankings are reflective of the entire community vs. a few select members. This shows further skewing this year especially, as everyone's travels were greatly disrupted, limiting access and travel to new roller coasters.

Year-Over-Year Trends

For year-over-year, I highlighted a few key observations above. Some other good takeaways:
  • Zadra continues to jump up in the rankings, three continuous years of upward movement!
  • RMC has locked in 1, 2, and 3 spots in the rankings. Will anything crack in next year? VelociCoaster?
  • Shambhala took a tumble out of the top 10 alongside Fury 325. We partly toss this up to sampling bias and folks that submitted their ballots.
  • Balder saw the biggest ranking slide, 33 slots total from 24 to 57.
Roller Coaster2018201920202021Change From Previous YearAverage Ranking
Steel Vengeance111101.0
Zadra-166248.0
Lightning Rod243303.0
Taron3224-22.8
Voyage857526.3
Skyrush4646-25.0
Helix7357-25.5
El Toro10712849.3
Untamed-89908.7
Hyperion58191810826.3
Maverick411111109.3
Nemesis13121412212.8
Shambhala1417813-513.0
Outlaw Run12272014618.3
Icon313843152831.8
Ride to Happiness---15-15.0
Fury 3251191017-711.8
Expedition GeForce18142218418.0
X28181519-415.0
Velocicoaster---20-20.0
Intimidator 305251535211424.0
Time Traveler130-107218686.0
Kondaa---21-21.0
Twisted Timbers22233224825.3
Phoenix28302525027.0

Sample Size is Everything

Again, this is heavily reliant on sample size, and how folks responded with their top 10 rankings. If you feel like a roller coaster got cheated and didn't participate this year; make it a point to drop your top 10 into the thread so we can count it towards next year's count!

We also updated the alternate rankings as we did last year, showing variations to how roller coaster rankings can be measured, such as logging results (to consider strong outliers) and removing top and bottom-most votes for each respective roller coaster (also as a control for outlier votes). A word of warning, the traditional outlier ranking is a bit skewed this year, due in part to lower sample size (jumping back to having a lot of single rider entries).

1640804403698.png

Comparing to Other Polls
While we have used the ElloCoaster polls for comparison in years past, they have unfortunately been shuttered the last two years. @coasterbot however had a great turn out in their new rankings (https://coasterbot.com/votecoasters), which we added as a final comparison. Overall, the rankings still relatively close to each other, an average of 11 slots difference between the two polls with a correlation of 48%. Interesting to see that even with two quite-different polling approaches, you can still see a similar overall trend. (Again, due in part to sample size)

Check Out the Full Rankings!

You can peruse all the data and tables here:
Thank you again for joining in the CF Top 10 Rankings - Happy Holidays and Happy New Coasting Year!
 

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HeartlineCoaster

Giga Poster
Love it, particularly all the analysis and graphage of course!

Something I did spot was the Number of #1 Rankings column appears to have gone astray somehow, it doesn't match the spreadsheet (or the pie chart).
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
For an illustration of how much the individual lists can count, I snuck into the spreadsheet and added my Top 10 list, which I had forgotten to post this year. In particular, I wanted to see how much it would affect the placement of Balder, which had slid the furthest in this year's rankings. Balder is my #5, so I didn't expect very much, but it actually shot up ten places from #62 to #52 in the overall rankings. My Top 10 list would also have seen Helix rise a spot, from #7 to #6, and sent Formula Rossa from #71 to #36.

All that by posting one more entry. In other words, each list submitted to the thread can make a quite notable difference. I hope I will ride some coasters in 2022, and remember to post my list so next year's rankings can be even more accurate.
 

Hyde

Matt SR
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
Love it, particularly all the analysis and graphage of course!

Something I did spot was the Number of #1 Rankings column appears to have gone astray somehow, it doesn't match the spreadsheet (or the pie chart).
Great flag! I double checked, and the equation needed a quick finetune to make sure it was using all the correct cells. Appreciate the flag, and fixed!

For an illustration of how much the individual lists can count, I snuck into the spreadsheet and added my Top 10 list, which I had forgotten to post this year. In particular, I wanted to see how much it would affect the placement of Balder, which had slid the furthest in this year's rankings. Balder is my #5, so I didn't expect very much, but it actually shot up ten places from #62 to #52 in the overall rankings. My Top 10 list would also have seen Helix rise a spot, from #7 to #6, and sent Formula Rossa from #71 to #36.

All that by posting one more entry. In other words, each list submitted to the thread can make a quite notable difference. I hope I will ride some coasters in 2022, and remember to post my list so next year's rankings can be even more accurate.
I actually tried playing with some of the rankings to see if we could project how roller coasters would progress in the future (aka "Will Zadra overtake Steel Vengeance? And if so, by when?") The numbers got wonky fast, but it also showed how heavily reliant this (and all other polls) are on submission size.

Even 1 or 2 more #1 rankings for Zadra could be enough to put it at the #1 slot, or move VelociCoaster or Ride to Happiness up into the top 5.
 

Howie

Strata Poster
Zadra too high for my liking, Shambhala too low, and Icon doesn't even belong in that list to be honest. I mean, I haven't ridden Fury 325, but I can't believe that Icon ranks 2 places above it. I'm fairly sure that anyone who's ridden both didn't rank them that way.
Apart from those nitpicks, decent enough list. Good work team!

I believe the tradition in this thread is to post your score, ie 'How many of CF's top 25 have you ridden?'
I'll be very surprised/impressed if anyone's been on all 25 this year. In fact, did anyone even get all 25 last year? Don't think so. 🤔

I'm on 17, which is rather regrettably down 1 compared to the 18 I got last year.
On the plus side I now have 8 out of the top 10, compared to only 7 in 2020. Not because I've ridden an extra one, of course, but because Fury has dropped out of the top 10, so that one's a bit of a hollow victory.
Skyrush and Lightning Rod remain annoyingly out of reach for now, but I'm hoping to at least add Velocicoaster and the Belgian duo over the next 12 months. 🤞🏻
 
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davidm

Strata Poster
10/10 :)
18/20 (Ride to Happiness,Velocicoaster missing, hopefully will address both next year)
20/25 (Time Traveller,Kondaa, Twisted Timbers missing, hopefully get one of these next year)

That's down 2 on last year :(
 

Hutch

Strata Poster
Done 12 of the Top 25, and half of the Top 10 (the US ones, funny enough).

List overall looks solid... but Icon? Really? 🤣
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Done 12 of the Top 25, and half of the Top 10 (the US ones, funny enough).
That's a good point -

I've done100% (10/10) of the Top 10 and 80% (20/25) of the Top 25 - hoping to get that up to 88% by the spring, though.
 

FarleyFlavors

Mega Poster
I've done 20 of the 25 and the most astonishing aspect of this list is the fact that Wildfire is nowhere to be found.
Agreed, quite a shocker.

The "Roller Coasters Ranked #1" pie chart must have changed at some point? The original version had Wildfire in it.
 
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JoshC.

Giga Poster
Just had a chance to look through and properly digest this - top level stat busting Hyde and Poke, love it!

Interestingly, I've done 6/25 of CF's 2021 favourites, whereas I'd done 7/25 of the 2020 favourites. Pitiful and disappointing on my behalf.
 

Hyde

Matt SR
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
Zadra too high for my liking, Shambhala too low, and Icon doesn't even belong in that list to be honest.
I too was surprised at how high Zadra scored - but it also moved up in the CoasterBot poll by comparison. Indeed, there is something to it that is making it now nip right at the heels of the RMC Cathedral itself.
The "Roller Coasters Ranked #1" pie chart must have changed at some point? The original version had Wlidfire in it.
Yes! I did swap it - realized it had some artifacting from the 2020 rankings.


As for Number of Coasters Ridden? 10/25 for me.
 

Will

Strata Poster
Just 10/25 (insert rant about Covid here)

Taron too high and what the **** is Icon doing on there?
 

Nick13

Mega Poster
Also 18/25 with plans to ride 5 more in 2022. I need to finally get out to Poland this year to get on Zadra!
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
and what the **** is Icon doing on there?
CF has a large share of British members, whose international coaster experience is very "thinned out" (say, out of 10 users, 3 may have ridden Shambhala, 2 Kärnan, 2 Helix, 4 Untamed, and so on) but whom pretty much all have ridden the "UK top dogs", so these coasters naturally place in the top 10 lists of a large number of members. And so it moves up our total rankings.

There is a reason why we've been insistent on the terminology of "CF's favourite coasters" rather than "best coasters as ranked by CF". Strictly speaking, we're not trying to determine which coasters are the best out there, we're simply tallying what our members' favourites coasters are.
 

HeartlineCoaster

Giga Poster
I'm up to 18/25 from last year's 17/25, so that's a win (even if it's probably just Icon's fault).

I also said last year I'd have all of them but one. Clearly didn't happen.

I'll be even bolder this year and say I'll have them all. Watch it not happen.
 

DelPiero

Strata Poster
21/25 last year was always going to be tough to beat in such a crappy travel year, but dropping to 18/25 is not good, not good at all.
Must get Untamed, RTH and Kondaa this year.
Very tempted to hire a car from Vegas to get X2.

Icon is too high, please guys and gals, go ride some stuff on the continent. Other than that it looks pretty fair, it's eerily similar to my top 10, just goes to show most of you have good taste ;)

I predict that Velocicoaster and Iron Gwazi will fly up the rankings at the end of next year if more people get to do their Florida trips.
 
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