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How come the same amount of force can feel different on different rides?

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. I was just discussing about the intensity of some of Alton Towers' coasters on the Alton Towers forum I'm on, and I was wondering; how come the same amount of force can feel different on different coasters? In some cases, I've even found that coasters pulling a greater amount of g-force can actually feel less intense?

For example, Nemesis pulls 3.5G and feels very forceful, whereas Galactica pulls a similar amount and feels more relaxing. Another one; Nemesis Inferno pulls 4G, but somehow feels less intense than the 3.5G of Nemesis. The Swarm's 4.5G of force feels like a nice amount of force, as does Oblivion's, whereas The Smiler pulls a similar amount and I almost find it a bit too intense? Why would this be?


Staff member
Social Media Team
The first thing to note is that those 'official' G-Force figures need taking with a pinch of salt. Not that they're necessarily wrong, but they can be misleading. Principally, for three reasons (which are all interrelated):
  1. They don't give any information on how long the forces last for. 4G for 0.25s will likely feel less intense than 3G for 2s.
  2. There's no guarantee that they have measured the forces the same way. For example, Nemesis is nearly 20 years older than the Smiler. When they recorded the forces on Nemesis, maybe they filtered out everything that lasted less than 0.1s, whereas on the Smiler they did 0.05s. That might actually mean that you 'missed' some of the higher forces on Nemesis.The forces quoted on Nemesis might also be based on their original design model, whereas Smiler was measured. Or Smiler was designed on more advanced software which would give a different number for Nemesis if you rebuilt it in software now. Or maybe Smiler was measured at 5pm after a long day of testing and Nemesis at dawn?
  3. Does it follow a long section of high g-force, or is just a brief moment? Taron has that great section where the force doesn't let up for about eight corners, and it feels very intense - even though I bet the absolute force isn't any higher than any of the other bits of the ride.
You see? It's a mess.

You can measure (or calculate) G-forces, but they're not as 'absolute' as measuring a coaster's height or length.

Then, there's all the other stuff that comes into it.
  • First train of the day will likely be slower than last train during a power-hour.
  • How are you seated? Pretzel loops feel very intense, and they are up there, but they feel particularly bad as it's that compression feeling on your chest.
  • How hydrated and nourised are you? Is it a hot day? Are you tired? All affect how you're going to feel on a ride.
There's no black and white answer to this question, and the real answer is it's probably a combination of all of the above.


Active Member
Also, the rate of change matters...a bit of airtime that onsets suddenly feels more intense than a hill that gradually builds up to the moment.