What's new

Manufacturers With the Most/Least Reliable Rides

I was thinking the other day that some manufacturers don't get enough credit from enthusiasts for how reliable their rides are, but criticism is often seen with unreliable manufacturers/rides. Which is your opinion are the most and least reliable manufacturers in terms of downtime and maintenance? Are there any ride operators on here who could help me out on this one?

B&M: Often very reliable in my opinion. Pricey, but, you're paying for the quality. When visiting parks when a B&M goes down it's not down for long. A good thing about having multiple B&Ms is that parks can swap ride parts to aid operations. The only B&M I have know with many breakdowns was Air, but it seems to of become more reliable as it's aged and I guessing that AT knows more about the ride now.

Intamin: The newer Intamins such as Taron seem reliable, but their older designs such as the hydraulic launch coaster suffers alot of downtime. Intamin have been the innovators and have always pushed the technology, but with that it seems that their representation of reliability has been damaged. The new designs appear like safer bets and are hopefully more reliable.

Vekoma: I don't think I have ever seen a Vekoma coaster breakdown or closed for the day (other than weather) I feel they don't get enough credit in this regard. I am not surprised why so many parks have brought from Vekoma, other than the cheaper price tag.

Mack: similar to B&M, pricey but high quality, again rarely seen Mack rides down for maintenance.

RMC: a bit of a mixed bag from what I have heard, Steel Vengeance has had downtime issues and of course the abysmal lack of reliability on Lightning Rod in it's first two seasons, however I haven't seen many other issues from other RMCs, I have not been to park with one yet so perhaps someone could let me know how reliable they are day to day.

Gerstlauer: Saw The Ride seems to be down quite a bit, but I don't know if that's just Thorpe Park as other Eurofighters I have been on seem to run without much issue. The Smiler has had many issues in the past and still suffers downtime, hopefully as time goes on it will become more reliable.

Thoughts?
 

Fi

Member
I think some of the criticism of “unreliable” manufactuers is a bit unfair. Sure everyone would love nice readable rides with 100% uptime, but RMC and Intamin have been very innovative and it’s not that surprising that prototype technology is more likely to have technical issues than the 100th clone where they’ve had opportunities to work out all the problems. I think it really comes down to ride complexity rather than manufacturer competence. Mack may have a good reputation but they’ve also arguably played it a bit safe when creating new rides. Wacky worms are usually good for uptime are getting fixed buy that doesn’t mean they’re better engineered than a big Intamin or RMC!

I’ve maybe got a skewed view from operating a B&M, but from memory wasn’t overly reliable! It would be very unusual for it to go all day without downtime, whereas downtime on the Arrow and Zamperla coasters was much rarer. I just roll my eyes thinking typical now when I’m in line for a B&M and it goes down! Not a coaster manufacture but Huss rides are a reliability nightmare!
 
I think some of the criticism of “unreliable” manufactuers is a bit unfair. Sure everyone would love nice readable rides with 100% uptime, but RMC and Intamin have been very innovative and it’s not that surprising that prototype technology is more likely to have technical issues than the 100th clone where they’ve had opportunities to work out all the problems. I think it really comes down to ride complexity rather than manufacturer competence. Mack may have a good reputation but they’ve also arguably played it a bit safe when creating new rides. Wacky worms are usually good for uptime are getting fixed buy that doesn’t mean they’re better engineered than a big Intamin or RMC!

I’ve maybe got a skewed view from operating a B&M, but from memory wasn’t overly reliable! It would be very unusual for it to go all day without downtime, whereas downtime on the Arrow and Zamperla coasters was much rarer. I just roll my eyes thinking typical now when I’m in line for a B&M and it goes down! Not a coaster manufacture but Huss rides are a reliability nightmare!
Out of interest which rides did you operate? It's good that you have experience as I knew I would be talking s*** somewhere. I understand what you mean though as Intamin and RMC do push the technology further than other manufacturers.

Were the issues on the B&Ms easier to fix? For example when they broke down were they quicker to fix than say Intamin rides? The only experience I have known of it was when Air always used to always break down.

Sent from my SM-A217F using Tapatalk
 

Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
Breaking it down by manufacturer gets a bit skewed, as there's a far greater correlation between complexity of ride and downtime. A traditional chainlift roller coaster should rightfully be more reliable than a coaster with a launch or other elements that require far greater sophistication and complexity. And in turn, some manufacturers heavily slant towards "traditional" coaster tech (e.g. B&M using chain lifts), while other manufacturers focus on launches, droptracks, and other elements that require more sophistication. You can apply this lens across complexity of train design, brake run sensors, and other features too.
 

Fi

Member
Out of interest which rides did you operate? It's good that you have experience as I knew I would be talking s*** somewhere. I understand what you mean though as Intamin and RMC do push the technology further than other manufacturers.

Were the issues on the B&Ms easier to fix? For example when they broke down were they quicker to fix than say Intamin rides? The only experience I have known of it was when Air always used to always break down.

Sent from my SM-A217F using Tapatalk
I worked:
Raptor at Cedar Point - B&M, often had downtime due to the sensors in the moving floor getting dirty, which was easily fixed with a reset. Sometimes had more serious downtime which would take between hours and days to fix.
Do-Whopper at Moreys Piers - Zamperla - Wild Mouse style Coaster, had a lot of blocks and a nice control panel so might have been somewhat complex mechanically, but I don’t recall this ever having technical downtime
Dragon Fyre at Canada’s Wonderland - Arrow - old school technology, but usually behaved and operated nicely.
Riptide at Canads Wonderland - Huss Topspin - 😬 2 hours in a row without downtime was quite the achievement! Often simple to reset but sometimes took hours to fix.
Spinovator at Canads Wonderland - not sure the manufacturer but a simple flat ride, was rarely down but when it did go down it probably needed parts replaced.
Also worked back office at Chessington and could indirectly infer which rides were a pain with maintenance!

I’m not an engineer but I suspect that downtime on the more complex rides may be within the computer control systems rather than mechanical parts and so while it may happen more frequently is also easier to fix than in an older coaster where if it’s down then it’s really down and probably needing new parts.
 
RMC: a bit of a mixed bag from what I have heard, Steel Vengeance has had downtime issues and of course the abysmal lack of reliability on Lightning Rod in it's first two seasons, however I haven't seen many other issues from other RMCs, I have not been to park with one yet so perhaps someone could let me know how reliable they are day to day.
There was a bit of downtime of Untamed last year with cracks in part of the steel found from what I remember reading. Also an issue of the train not making it back into the station I believe.
When I was at Walibi Holland the first week it opened, a train was stopped on the lift hill for half hour - hour but they got the ride going again.
Perhaps one can pretty much deduce those were mostly teething issues quite early on.
Haven't heard of any issues with Zadra at all on forums or on social media.

Launch coasters seem more problematic than classic lift hill ones. I've seen Icon go down more than any other coaster at BPB when I think about all the visits over the last two years. But then it also pushing through the most amount of people with ease.

Having been on a behind the scenes tour of Stealth, reliability problems with mostly hydraulic launches don't surprise me.
 
There was a bit of downtime of Untamed last year with cracks in part of the steel found from what I remember reading. Also an issue of the train not making it back into the station I believe.
When I was at Walibi Holland the first week it opened, a train was stopped on the lift hill for half hour - hour but they got the ride going again.
Perhaps one can pretty much deduce those were mostly teething issues quite early on.
Haven't heard of any issues with Zadra at all on forums or on social media.

Launch coasters seem more problematic than classic lift hill ones. I've seen Icon go down more than any other coaster at BPB when I think about all the visits over the last two years. But then it also pushing through the most amount of people with ease.

Having been on a behind the scenes tour of Stealth, reliability problems with mostly hydraulic launches don't surprise me.
I have seen Icon go down a few times when I have been there, most of the time it was fixed within an hour. On opening weekend 2019 it broke down halfway through the day and was shut until tomorrow afternoon, however the park also had most of their rides go down that weekend, perhaps things were rushed on the parks end? It seemed they were not ready for the season yet.

Sent from my SM-A217F using Tapatalk
 
I have seen Icon go down a few times when I have been there, most of the time it was fixed within an hour. On opening weekend 2019 it broke down halfway through the day and was shut until tomorrow afternoon, however the park also had most of their rides go down that weekend, perhaps things were rushed on the parks end? It seemed they were not ready for the season yet.

Sent from my SM-A217F using Tapatalk
That opening weekend last year was a disaster. I'm glad things went much smoother when they re-opened early July after the lockdown stuff.
 

cookie

Member
I haven't come across a manufacturer that was consistent with their rides breaking down personally — most of the time I've been fortunate to not encounter rides being down for very long, but there have been instances.

  • B&M - Daemonen at Tivoli Gardens has been closed from time to time when I visit and is often running one train even on crowded days. Other than that, every B&M I've come across has been perfectly reliable — even Valkyria had a spotless record when I visited three days after its official opening.
  • Gerstlauer - No issues encountered there personally. Even something as complex as Kärnan hasn't gone down while I visited.
  • Intamin - Tornado at Bakken seems to have a lot of problems, and both it and Mine Train Ulven had delayed openings when I visited this July. Desert Race at Heide-Park saw delays due to weather, but that's not a reliability issue. Every other Intamin I've ridden (Balder, Colossos, Insane, Taron, Supersonic Odyssey, Kanonen) I've never had issues with.
  • Mack - Matterhorn Blitz always breaks down at least once when I visit, and always while I'm in line. I've never had issues with any other of Europa-Park's coasters, but Matterhorn just loves throwing tantrums while I'm around (I'm guessing the elevator lift is the recurring culprit?). Other than that, no issues.
  • Maurer - Crazy Mine at Hansa-Park was closed until like 3 P.M for "service" when I went two weeks ago, and the Force side of Winjas was also down until the afternoon during my day one visit to Phantasialand. Maurer is the manufacturer were I think age is taking the biggest toll on their rides, so I could see the downtime issues worsening in the future.
  • RMC - Wildfire at Kolmården went down for maybe an hour when I visited, but the coasters was only a week old by then, to be fair. The rest of the day the front car on one of the trains was closed off.
  • Schwarzkopf - Spotless from personal experience. Despite their age, they run really well.
  • Vekoma - I seem to recall Rasender Roland (now known as Royal Scotsman) at Hansa-Park was down during one of my visits, but I haven't encountered issues otherwise.
  • Zerier - Lisebergbanan got stuck on the final brake run while I was on it, so that's something.
 
Last edited:

JoshC.

Active Member
Surely S&S is contender for least reliable? Some of their newer coasters seem okay, but their older ones less so. And their flat rides are hardly masterpieces in reliability either!
 
Surely S&S is contender for least reliable? Some of their newer coasters seem okay, but their older ones less so. And their flat rides are hardly masterpieces in reliability either!
Forgot about S&S, but yeah I agree. The Air compressed launched coasters are some of the least reliable out there and the sky swats weren't much better, with that being said the el loco models seem okay in terms of reliability, with expectation to the one that was open in Japan for a week.

Sent from my SM-A217F using Tapatalk
 

Nicky Borrill

Active Member
Vekomas aren’t perfectly reliable imo, Corkscrew at AT was often down, although more so in it’s later years. However Missile at American Adventure was often down multiple times a day. Sometimes for days at a time, and this is going back to 95-97 when it was much newer. I believe it’s also had some lengthy downtime at PWH too, though no personal experience of that.

I guess it’s as much down to the parks and their maintenance as it is the original manufacturer.

Not sure Magic Mountain would agree that Arrow coasters are amongst the most reliable though 🙈😂

Got me thinking though...

Mack - Lots of downtime on Icon... So much so on our visits that we now head there first, despite how wrong that is, just to ensure we get a ride! Blue fire and Helix all down on my visits too. Their powered coasters have never given me issues. Nor their bobsled.

Gerst - Smiler and Saw always go down for long times!!! No issues elsewhere for me (Merlin over cautious since accident?)

B&M - Lots of down time on my most ridden B&Ms, but whenever visiting new to me parks, I’ve ALWAYS got the creds.

Intamin - I’ve seen most Intamins have downtime whilst visiting a park, except Taron 🤷🏻‍♂️ And I didn’t notice Red Force go down either.

I have lost interest now, I actually can’t think of a manufacturer who I’ve never experienced down time from. Most breakdowns happen due to systems designed to keep people safe doing their jobs, so long may it continue :) Nothing worse than being completely spited on a one day visit though 🙈😢😂
 
Last edited:
I haven't had issues with icon outside of the disastrous 2019 opening weekend, however have been on Matterhorn Blitz during a breakdown where it wouldn't leave the station. Got the credit later on though.

Sent from my SM-A217F using Tapatalk
 

toofpikk

Member
The trickiest thing is every park/chain deals with 'breakdowns' of rides completely differently. What may be a 5 minute lump of downtime at 1 park, which could be dealt with by the ride team, could be a completely different issue at another. It's difficult to say about manufacturers too because every single chain/park adds their own procedures on top of those that the ride makers have to comply with their own company & country H&S regs.

Having said all that, theres kind of an interesting pattern i've seen with rides. The older they are, the less there is going on, so the less there is to go wrong. The newer they are, the more reliable they are once teething issues have been sorted. I wonder if anyone who was good with graphs could extract data from one of those queue times websites and make some pretty blocks of information for us all. I would, but I'm lazy. And dumb.
 
In my experience a rides reliability is 95% down to how well it is maintained. The other 5% of issues can be considered design flaws that even the best maintenance can't solve for more than a few hours.

All ride manufacturers have this trend, there is no best/worse company as far as reliability is concerned.

Even different examples of the same ride model can encounter different problems. I have received service bulletins from manufacturers regarding problems that other parks have had and yet our ride hasn't had the problem in question. It even works the other way around, out of about 10 or so installations of the same model of ride, we are the only park to have a particular issue.
 

Clrun4

New Member
Reading all this makes me wonder about one thing.
What is the proportion of the downtime because there is an issue and the downtime just because the security systems do their jobs and stop the ride ?
I mean, a dysfuntional sensor, a train stopping an inch further than it should do, a train a bit too slow for the computer, this is not really some issues, and we honestly can't blame the manufacturer for that ...

And I think the problem is far more complex than just sayin' this one is reliable or this one not. Maintenance plays a lot in that, and so is all the others companies providing the small parts as sensors, air compressor, etc... On the same idea, each park has its own process to operate the ride, so it can lead to an extensive downtime (remind me Spinball Whizzer 2 years ago. Everytime the station flow has to be stopped, they sent 2 empty trains before allowing passengers...)

And, IMO, personnal experience change your perception. For my own, I've seen Silver Star been down for about 5 min, and it's the only time I've ever seen a B&M broke. On the other hand, one day at DisneylandParis, all the three Vekoma (not counting the powered) were down at the same time.

And I will not mention the guest influence over that....
 
  • Like
Reactions: Alv

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
Just because I've seen it mentioned in a positive light 3 times already, Taron has ceased operation for technical issues, sometimes more than once per day, on all 3 of my visits to the park. I joke about Intamin and their breakdowns everywhere I go, but there's still an element of truth to it.

Every visit is a snapshot and it's hard to get the best picture without working there.
 
Top