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What happened to the demand for thrilling inverted coasters?

Pokemaniac

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I've seen this pop up in discussions from time to time, but it has never really been on-topic to discuss it, so I figured to make a separate thread this time instead of derailing another thread.

The thread in question was the "Next RMC model?" thread, wherein some people have suggested that an Invert could be a nice addition to RMC's product catalogue. And that makes sense, at a glance. Lots of coaster manufacturers offer Inverts. They're a sort of staple concept of coaster design. B&M were the first to build one, but Vekoma had great success with the SLC, Intamin offers an underappreciated model, Vekoma has tried to atone for the SLC with the new STC, and now Gerstlauer appears to enter the market too. But ... well, none of them appear to sell very well. It seems like the market for thrilling Inverted coasters - outside China, at least - has collapsed completely. Is that just my impression, or is there some truth to it?

Consider B&M as a case, for instance. They've sold five Inverted coasters in the past 15 years. In 1999 alone, they sold four. Vekoma built 7 SLCs in 1997, but only 5 since 2010 - and two of those were relocations. However, Golden Horse and BSA in China seems to be doing well, to the point that we should probably exclude China from the statistics and focus on trends elsewhere.

I decided to head to RCDB to look at Inverted coasters in the "Extreme" category over the past couple decades. There's no easy way to ask RCDB for coasters not in China, but we can get a world total and a list of Chinese inverts separately, then subtract the latter from the former:

YearNew Extreme inverted coasters - worldNew Extreme inverted coasters - ChinaNew Extreme inverted coasters - outside ChinaNotes
1992101Batman The Ride, the first Batman clone. Oh, and the first Inverted coaster.
1993202
1994505
199511011Four of these go to Japan ... where no Extreme inverts have been built since 1998.
1996202
199713013The year of Alpengeist, last full-circuit Invert to take the height record.
1998808Volcano at Kings Dominion is built, still the fastest full-circuit Invert to this day.
199914014
2000303
200110010
2002716Snow Mountain Flying Dragon, China's first Invert of this scale.
2003514
2004404Lightning at Kuwait Entertainment City is the last Batman clone manufactured so far.
2005514
2006523
2007725
2008918
2009431First year China built more inverts than the rest of the world. Or rather, the first year the rest of the world didn't build any Inverts - the one in question is Sky Mountain, which has been in storage in Brazil since it was relocated from SFOG in 2009, and never opened.
2010660
2011770
2012844Three of the four "rest-of-the-world" Inverts were relocations. The last is OzIris.
2013550
20141192Year of Banshee, the last of the huge B&M Inverts (and the most recently opened one before Monster). Longest Invert to date. The other one is the GIB in Sochi, Russia.
20151192The two outside China are Mayan (Energylandia) and Diabolik (Movieland Park, relocated from SFA).
2016220
2017651Queen Cobra at Sun World Danang Wonders (Vietnam) is the most recent SLC to be manufactured.
2018440
2019752The two are Euro-Star, relocated to Krasnodar in Russia, and a Golden Horse SLC in Uzbekistan.
2020651The one in question is Hals-über-Kopf, the first Extreme invert in Europe since Mayan five years earlier.
2021752The one that isn't Monster at Gröna Lund is the aforementioned GIB lying in storage at Mirabilandia in Brazil.
China takes the speed and height record for Inverts from Wicked Twister, with Legendary Twin Dragon at Chongqing Sunac Land.
2022101The relocated SLC from Ratanga Junction in SA, headed for Lost Island in the US.

So, yeah, the thrill coaster market has all but collapsed outside China. The observant among you may notice that this happened around 2008 and connect it to the great financial crisis. For whatever reason, Inverts were generally considered the bee's knees until then, and the bee's ... I don't know, toenails? ... after that. This is actually the exhaustive list of extreme Inverts manufactured for parks outside China since 2009:
  • OzIris - Parc Asterix, France (B&M, 2012)
  • Banshee - King's Island, US (B&M, 2014)
  • Quantum Leap - Sochi Park, Russia (Vekoma, 2014)
  • Roller Coaster Mayan - Energylandia, Poland (Vekoma, 2015)
  • Queen Cobra - Sun World Danang Wonders, Vietnam (Vekoma, 2017)
  • Unknown - Afsona Land, Uzbekistan (Golden Horse, 2019)
  • Hals-über-Kopf, Erlebnispark Tripsdrill, Germany (Vekoma, 2020)
  • Monster, Gröna Lund, Sweden (B&M, 2021)
Eight. In 12 years. Three from B&M, four from Vekoma, and one from Golden Horse. Five in Europe, two in Asia, one in the US.

The coasters are still offered by the various manufacturers. You can go right to their websites and find brochures. It's not like parks in those places have stopped building thrill coasters either. But they don't seem to choose to build Inverted thrill coasters anymore. Why is that?

I'm not sure if I can point to a definite answer, but there are some theories (all with gaping holes in them):

1. The market is saturated. The idea is that every park that could want an Invert already has one. However, most of us could probably name some candidates if given a minute or two to think. Dollywood, for instance. PortAventura. Most of the SeaWorld and Universal parks. Europa Park. Nagashima Spaland. Kings Dominion. And those are just the biggest parks around. Parks were so eager to put Inverts in their lineups a couple decades ago, so why did the remaining parks suddenly stop doing that?
2. Competition from other coaster types. After all, B&M in particular has bolstered their catalogue with Flying, Dive, and Wing coasters over the past decade-and-a-half-and-then-some. Perhaps they are pushing those models on customers, rather than Inverts? I mean, a winged train looks a bit more fancy than an inverted train, after all. Vekoma, likewise, could have been more willing to get their new sit-down coasters to market rather than clunky old SLC and Invertigo designs. The problem with this theory is that the size and scope of B&M's more modern coaster types is much bigger than that of smaller Inverts. It's not like a park considering to buy a Batman clone would suddenly order a Manta or Griffon clone instead, as those coasters are quite a bit larger and more expensive. Likewise, Vekoma SLCs are vastly smaller and presumably cheaper than their launch coasters. I doubt there is that much direct competition between the coaster types - certainly not to the point of the near-total elimination we are observing.
3. Inverts are out of fashion. Again a theory that seems tempting until you consider it for a bit. Would fashion really dictate a park's coaster preferences that much? Worldwide? Surely guests would hardly be involved enough to consider a coaster type "unpopular" and unworthy of attention, and surely there must be some parks out there who would order the coaster type regardless of the trends in the market.
4. Something external. This category might as well say "anything else". Have the industry standards changed, to make Inverts more expensive than they used to be? Are they more expensive to build than before for other reasons? Is there a safety record thing? Availability of parts? Evacuation procedures? And why aren't Wing coasters affected by any of this?
5. Competition from other manufacturers. I'm listing this after the "other" category because I'm pretty sure this is not the answer. Granted, it might apply on a small scale in China. B&M hasn't sold a single thrill Invert in that country despite an evidently thriving scene, and it's ten years since Vekoma sold an SLC or GIB there too. But as mentioned above, the only Golden Horse Invert to make it out of China went to Uzbekistan, and nobody is competing for Inverts in Europe or the US at this point.

I just ... don't understand this. Anybody else willing to put forward an explanation for why the entire Western theme park industry suddenly has stopped building thrilling inverted coasters?
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Great thread idea @Pokemaniac!

To be honest, I simply think that the market is mostly saturated for inverts these days. Even though plenty of parks still exist that don’t have an inverted coaster, they’re likely not that far from a park that does, so in that sense, the park would probably want a more marketable, unique ride than an inverted coaster. I think they’re simply a very commonplace ride type these days, which almost removes the appeal for the park if the ride has nothing else to offer. Although few are being built today, it’s worth remembering that tons were built in the 1990s and 2000s; that boom was never going to last forever, and so many parks got them that I think it almost removed the opportunity for the parks that didn’t have inverted coasters to be able to sell them, to a degree. I think inverted coasters are so commonplace these days that they’ve arguably lost their gimmick factor; things like wing coasters are still selling well because they are still somewhat uncommon, and thus can function quite effectively as a sales hook in most territories. By comparison, the vast majority of locations have an inverted coaster of some description, so the inverted riding position is arguably not really much of a gimmick on its own these days.

Also, rides being built today tend to be far more versatile and varied in terms of elements than rides being built 20 years ago when inverts were booming, and the types of sensations that are popular today are arguably much harder to convey effectively on an inverted roller coaster. Inverted roller coasters were popular in an era when most rides almost exclusively focused on positive g-forces and big inversions, as these are sensations that an inverted coaster can quite easily convey. However, rides being built nowadays are far more atypical beasts, packing all kinds of elements into one single ride. Coasters built in 2021 tend to have far more tricks up their sleeves than coasters built back when inverts were flying off the shelves (not that this necessarily makes older coasters any worse; they just tended to have a less diverse range of sensations); things like airtime, hangtime and rapid side-to-side transitions have begun to be thrown into the mix as well as positive g’s and inversions, and these types of sensations are either much harder to convey on an inverted coaster than on a regular sit-down train or nigh on impossible to convey effectively on an inverted coaster. Put it this way; can you imagine an inverted coaster being able to do the types of wacky elements being put on the likes of RMC’s and Intamin’s newest creations, amongst those of other manufacturers? I guess rides like Vekoma’s new Suspended Thrill Coaster could be the exception to this (I don’t know how Hals rides), but in general, inverts can’t provide the type of varied, versatile ride experience that parks and guests are looking for these days.

So before I ramble on for too long; I think that in summary, the inverted coaster’s decline in popularity is a combination of:
  • They’ve become very, very commonplace, and the market is now saturated; practically everywhere in the world has an inverted coaster of some description nearby. As such, the inverted riding position on its own is not really enough of a novelty for most parks.
  • Inverted roller coasters arguably cannot really provide the type of ride experience that is popular right now; sensations like airtime and hangtime cannot be conveyed as effectively on an inverted coaster as they can on a regular sit-down coaster, and inverts generally don’t provide the type of dynamic, versatile ride experience that’s “in” right now.
 

roomraider

Best Topic Starter
I don't have an answer I'm afraid, just here to say that half of Battlestar Galactica is missing from those lovely lists </3
As are on the Chinese side of things the Intamin invert at Sunac Guangzhou (I assume) and the 2 BSA Dueling Dragons coasters at Fuhua Amusement Park and Oriental Never Land. But no one cares about those :p

But on topic I can't really say why they've gone out of fashion so much. It almost feels like they need just on company to modernise the design. Vekoma have taken a stab at it and have their Thunderbird model available but no ones taken them up on that yet.

I love the B&M inverts and it makes me sad they've kind of vanished recently.
 

Pokemaniac

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As are on the Chinese side of things the Intamin invert at Sunac Guangzhou (I assume) and the 2 BSA Dueling Dragons coasters at Fuhua Amusement Park and Oriental Never Land. But no one cares about those :p
It's not like they are excluded because they would discfavour the argument.

Trying to sum up the OP, I guess, these are the things I find weird about the current situation:
  1. Extreme Inverted coasters fell suddenly out of fashion in Western parks after the financial crisis. In 5 of the years between 1995 and 2001, parks in these areas built more Inverts in one year than they have built in total since 2009.
  2. Even parks that lack extreme Inverted coasters appear not to make efforts to fill that hole in the lineup.
  3. Chinese parks build Inverts like crazy, and fill up the order books of Western manufacturers, but they don't build extreme Inverts from Western manufacturers (although there have been some family coasters, even from B&M).
  4. Family Inverted coasters have had a bit of a boom in recent years (even Intamin has managed to sell a few!), but strangely nobody seem to build the bigger and more intense models from the same manufacturers.
  5. 23 years after the first launched full-circuit Invert, we are still waiting for the second one. Again forgetting Dueling Dragons at Sunac Guangzhou, of course. Was Volcano really that bad?
 

Professor

Previously AndrewRollercoaster
I think with certain modern coaster train designs there is now no need for inverted coasters since for many people their feet are already dangling off the ground. See for example newer B&M sit down trains and floorless designs, Icon's trains or Lost Gravity.
I think the overhead track and seating arrangement makes view straight forward near impossible except for the front row on most inverts.
Therefore with many new coaster designs the sensation of feet dangling is maintained plus all the benefits of having the track underneath you:
Better views, airtime, safer & easier disembarkation especially during an e-stop.
 

roomraider

Best Topic Starter
Haha I didn't mean to suggest they were. More that the BSA dueling dragons look awful and nobody should care about them 😂

If I'm being really pedantic (and I'm afraid I am) there was another invert built outside of China in 2020.

It is a bit of an odd trend. There doesn't seem to be any one reason for it but more of a multitude of combined reasons. I suspect B&Ms own wing coasters sucked up some of the demand as they provide more of a unique ride and bigger spectacle for the GP for I imagine a similar cost

China hasn't really gone in for the big B&M inverts either but I suspect that's more because the Chinese built versions are so much cheaper. The only rides you really see from B&M out there are rides where the local manafacturers havent managed to build their own cheaper versions.

It will be interesting to see if this pattern holds true when Golden Horses new Wing Coaster and Flying Coaster designs open in the next year or so. Will we see B&Ms order books lose out as these cheaper designs start to proliferate across the country?

It will be hard to judge as the rides will be I imagine quite a bit cheaper leading to smaller parks picking them up. So not every GH wing coaster built with equal a B&M not built. And I suppose that's true of the Inverts too.

It's an interesting conundrum.
I wonder if it could just take one to reignite the invert fever we saw in the past. An invert with a unique selling point like a launch or a new element that gives the design a wow factor that suddenly parks want? Stranger things have happened.
 

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
Thinking about it a bit more, Battlestar might have had a little something to do with it, coming in 2010 just after your 2009 downturn. I assume at this point Vekoma had surpassed B&M on sales, so B&M were starting to look elsewhere for opportunities. Vekoma then also tried to step the game up with something completely new and as we know there were some serious issues with how it went down, basically halting their innovation on that specific ride type for another 10 years.
It has to be a pretty high profile attraction being Universal as well, so maybe this put a lot of parks off of the concept, as well as both the interested companies, for separate reasons.
 
Great topic and I certainly don't have an answer to it. But thanks for mentioning Legendary Twin Dragon, that thing looks so incredibly good. I wish every park had one. Why hasn't any western park shown interest in one? It's like a piece of art 😍🤤
 

furie

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  1. Extreme Inverted coasters fell suddenly out of fashion in Western parks after the financial crisis. In 5 of the years between 1995 and 2001, parks in these areas built more Inverts in one year than they have built in total since 2009.
  2. Even parks that lack extreme Inverted coasters appear not to make efforts to fill that hole in the lineup.
  3. Chinese parks build Inverts like crazy, and fill up the order books of Western manufacturers, but they don't build extreme Inverts from Western manufacturers (although there have been some family coasters, even from B&M).
  4. Family Inverted coasters have had a bit of a boom in recent years (even Intamin has managed to sell a few!), but strangely nobody seem to build the bigger and more intense models from the same manufacturers.
  5. 23 years after the first launched full-circuit Invert, we are still waiting for the second one. Again forgetting Dueling Dragons at Sunac Guangzhou, of course. Was Volcano really that bad?

Brilliant topic, but I think you're pretty much covered on answers. It's a mix of all five of your original theories. Individually, they don't make an impact, but together, they do.

I think it's amazing how quickly and oddly fashion and trends change. You don't want your customers coming in and saying "oh, this new coaster, it's just like that one I rode at Six Flags". However, I don't think that's a big concern. The one thing we do miss is how much parks pay attention to each other. The amusement park and ride industry is pretty tight. The powers in charge will know what is trending, who is getting what and where the market is shifting. If they see too many parks with the same product, then it's difficult to sell on the idea of "fresh", and humans love "fresh".

On top of that, it's easy to sell "The tallest and fastest", but difficult to sell "a great new SLC!"

If you look at the run-up to the financial crisis, there was enormous investment in coasters. There was a chase to be the park with the tallest, the fastest or the most coasters. Huge investments into massive thrill rides. While that has continued to a degree, we've also seen a change in market direction. I think returns on huge "thrill" investment are lower than returns on "family" investment. Parks have changed a little to be more inclusive. The market has demanded this as well. Oddly, you do have parks like Dollywood who have come bounding into the thrill market with aplomb, but your Cedar Fairs and Six Flags have stagnated a bit. They've saturated their "thrill" and aren't seeing the ROI on what they installed. I think they're waking up to the fact that you need an underlying quality to secure return visits as well as big new attractions. Those on the up are looking to something to differentiate from their older thrill peers, so the invert is out.

However, we're now seeing a place where family is king, and the Extreme Invert just doesn't sit there - get a family friendly one. I think that the family market was ignored for so long, that we're now seeing the rebound from that.

There's a sales thing here too that I've seen before. You know when one of your products is beyond the pale. When pitching your product portfolio to a park, do you start (for the 25th year in a row) with the Extreme Invert? No, your client has seen it 24 times already. You start with the most popular item in your catalogue. You'll also be looking at economies of scale. I'll bet that it's easier and cheaper for B&M to make 5 Wing coasters in a year (in terms of tooling, skill sets, parts, etc.), than a mix of rides. So, I'll bet they make a bigger effort to sell what will suit them in terms of manufacturing.

I can't answer why the Chinese market don't take Western Thrill Inverts over localised ones. It may be there's some kind of issue with cost? Possibly the Chinese government give subsidies for cap-ex projects over a certain value to local businesses? Maybe something like that working behind the scenes? Possibly because the Asian firms don't have the Western models ready yet? In the next five years, we'll see fewer other models being sold in their territories? Probably a mix of a few things we just can't see.

As for the launched Invert? That's an odd one. I guess it's that good old catch-22 of "nobody bought them, so there's no market - but nobody bought them because nobody had made a good one". Volcano was "alright". I'd say it was similar to Blue Fire, but... You go on an Invert, and you have expectations. You expect intensity and the whole "my blood is pooled in my ankles" feeling. It just didn't do that. Blue Fire has poor launches, the Volcano launches were pretty good, neither are anywhere close to the "launch kings" of coasters from the Intamin sit-downs. Blue Fire though has some interesting airtime - it's a very re-ridable coaster. Volcano just didn't really satisfy.

I'm drawing a comparison there because Blue Fire launched (haha) a new range of coasters, Volcano didn't. I think it's because they are achieving different things.

Volcano wasn't a good launch coaster. It wasn't as good as any of the other sit-down launch coasters happening (including from their own stable). Why buy a weak Invert launch when you can order TTD? It also didn't compete in the Invert space. It just didn't have the power or thrill of a B&M, or the cheap thrill of an SLC. In a market dominated by those two companies - it didn't complete. Did it have potential as a model type? I think it did, but it was just the wrong product at the wrong time.

Just to clarify, I think Blue Fire worked because it was giving a sit-down multi-looper experience to parks who didn't have the room or desire for lift hills. It's just different enough and well designed enough to differentiate itself in the market. You don't buy them for the launch, you buy them for the convenience the launch gives, and for the excellent quality of the ride.

I don't know if that helps make any sense of it all? :)
 

gavin

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I'm sure we've all heard people say s**t like "Infusion is just like Nemesis".

If a new invert is "just like" something very different down the road, what's the point?

Sent from my Redmi Note 7 using Tapatalk
 

Pokemaniac

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As for the launched Invert? That's an odd one. I guess it's that good old catch-22 of "nobody bought them, so there's no market - but nobody bought them because nobody had made a good one". Volcano was "alright". I'd say it was similar to Blue Fire, but... You go on an Invert, and you have expectations. You expect intensity and the whole "my blood is pooled in my ankles" feeling. It just didn't do that. Blue Fire has poor launches, the Volcano launches were pretty good, neither are anywhere close to the "launch kings" of coasters from the Intamin sit-downs. Blue Fire though has some interesting airtime - it's a very re-ridable coaster. Volcano just didn't really satisfy.
After thinking it through, I might have come up with an explanation for the lack of launched Inverts: it defeats the point of them. Well, sort-of. One of the appeals of an Inverted coaster is that you sit with your feet dangling, looking down at the ground below you. However, this feeling of dangling high in the air is only really achieved on the lifthill. Due to how Inverted trains bend, they favour that the track always stays convex so the bottom of the seats are pushed apart. Concave track profiles push the seats together in a "pinch" instead, which is why airtime hills on Inverts are so rare. You can have one drawn-out, concave transition at the top of the lift, but otherwise you want the track motions to spread the seats out, not pinch them together. In other words, the highest points of Inverts are almost always inversions. The lift hill is the only place on an Inverted coaster where the feeling of dangling high and looking down can be achieved at the same time.

A launched Invert wouldn't feature that element. It would launch into a loop or an Immelmann or a zero-G-roll or some other element with a convex shape, then follow up with more inversions, turns, and helices until the end of the track. Conventional airtime hills would be too drawn-out to give any real air, they would take too much space in the layout, and be over too quickly to give that "I'm in a seat dangling high above the ground!" feeling. On an Invert, the lift hill is a much bigger part of the experience than on most sit-down coasters, so removing it hurts the overall package.

I'm sure we've all heard people say s**t like "Infusion is just like Nemesis".

If a new invert is "just like" something very different down the road, what's the point?
Ask La Ronde, which installed a second-hand SLC in 2010 despite having a Batman clone already. So I'm not entirely sure if I buy that argument either. Then again, it could be valid. If so, it's strange how "The neighbours have one!" used to be an argument for installing Inverts until 2008 or so, and then an argument against the very same thing after that. I didn't think the amusement industry was that fad-oriented. Then again, VR ...
 

Steely Dan

New Member
But thanks for mentioning Legendary Twin Dragon, that thing looks so incredibly good. I wish every park had one. Why hasn't any western park shown interest in one? It's like a piece of art 😍🤤
Unless I'm missing something, it looks like an ever so slightly larger version of CP's Wicked Twister. Curiously, it even shares the same yellow/turquoise color scheme.

That said, I will grant you that those triangular support towers are more elegant than the chunkier support structures found on the earlier generation of impulse coasters.

I've always found impulses to be great fun, and they seem like a pretty good bang for the buck, especially for 2nd tier parks. I would never argue with more of them getting built.
 
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Unless I'm missing something, it looks like an ever so slightly larger version of CP's Wicked Twister. Curiously, it even shares the same yellow/turquoise color scheme.

That said, I will grant you that those triangular support towers are more elegant than the chunkier support structures found on the earlier generation of impulse coasters.

That structure just looks incredible. Just throw this thing in the middle of a park and it would be a dream. We don't need any Cinderella Castles. And is it just me or are the towers a couple degrees more angled than Wicked Twister's? Not much just a couple degrees. This is totally a bucket list coaster
 

Hyde

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1. The market is saturated. The idea is that every park that could want an Invert already has one. However, most of us could probably name some candidates if given a minute or two to think. Dollywood, for instance. PortAventura. Most of the SeaWorld and Universal parks. Europa Park. Nagashima Spaland. Kings Dominion. And those are just the biggest parks around. Parks were so eager to put Inverts in their lineups a couple decades ago, so why did the remaining parks suddenly stop doing that?
2. Competition from other coaster types. After all, B&M in particular has bolstered their catalogue with Flying, Dive, and Wing coasters over the past decade-and-a-half-and-then-some. Perhaps they are pushing those models on customers, rather than Inverts? I mean, a winged train looks a bit more fancy than an inverted train, after all. Vekoma, likewise, could have been more willing to get their new sit-down coasters to market rather than clunky old SLC and Invertigo designs. The problem with this theory is that the size and scope of B&M's more modern coaster types is much bigger than that of smaller Inverts. It's not like a park considering to buy a Batman clone would suddenly order a Manta or Griffon clone instead, as those coasters are quite a bit larger and more expensive. Likewise, Vekoma SLCs are vastly smaller and presumably cheaper than their launch coasters. I doubt there is that much direct competition between the coaster types - certainly not to the point of the near-total elimination we are observing.
3. Inverts are out of fashion. Again a theory that seems tempting until you consider it for a bit. Would fashion really dictate a park's coaster preferences that much? Worldwide? Surely guests would hardly be involved enough to consider a coaster type "unpopular" and unworthy of attention, and surely there must be some parks out there who would order the coaster type regardless of the trends in the market.
4. Something external. This category might as well say "anything else". Have the industry standards changed, to make Inverts more expensive than they used to be? Are they more expensive to build than before for other reasons? Is there a safety record thing? Availability of parts? Evacuation procedures? And why aren't Wing coasters affected by any of this?
5. Competition from other manufacturers. I'm listing this after the "other" category because I'm pretty sure this is not the answer. Granted, it might apply on a small scale in China. B&M hasn't sold a single thrill Invert in that country despite an evidently thriving scene, and it's ten years since Vekoma sold an SLC or GIB there too. But as mentioned above, the only Golden Horse Invert to make it out of China went to Uzbekistan, and nobody is competing for Inverts in Europe or the US at this point.

I just ... don't understand this. Anybody else willing to put forward an explanation for why the entire Western theme park industry suddenly has stopped building thrilling inverted coasters?
I feel like a lot of these conclusions can be applied to other, novel coaster designs, such as:
  • Stand-Up
  • Floorless
  • Wing
  • Flying
That it, is a new, exciting ride design that offers a unique experience. There's a run on the market. And then industry hits a certain saturation point, where demand falls off/becomes far more quiet.

This isn't a necessarily unique thing to the coaster industry; markets that are ripe for disruption and innovation face a similar pulse and surge (computers and graphics, automotive, etc.). And it certainly begets a vicious cycle, not out of pursuit of the perfect roller coaster design, but necessity to keep companies cash flush and in business.

B&M is easiest to point to as they specialize most in this dabbling of coaster types - but it's definitely rife across all coaster companies, where very few only specialize in one or two specific designs. Even RMC's push for Raptor designs at their still young age reflects a knowing that Iron Horse conversions only work on so many coasters... and they've converted majority of the Dinn. Corp already. 😅
 

Pokemaniac

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Why is then the classic sit down coaster (in some form) or wooden coaster as popular now as ever?

I think you might be mistaken on the bolded part. The market for big thrilling woodies has collapsed completely in the past couple of decades, to the point that I was debating whether to make this thread about Inverts or woodies. RMC sell their wood-steel hybrids, and GCI and GG build some family attractions as well, but large, conventional woodies are almost never seen in the West these days. Wodan remains the only "traditional" woodie taller than 35 meters to have been built in the past 15 years. In contrast, 5 of those were built just between 1998 and 2000.
 
I think you might be mistaken on the bolded part. The market for big thrilling woodies has collapsed completely in the past couple of decades, to the point that I was debating whether to make this thread about Inverts or woodies. RMC sell their wood-steel hybrids, and GCI and GG build some family attractions as well, but large, conventional woodies are almost never seen in the West these days. Wodan remains the only "traditional" woodie taller than 35 meters to have been built in the past 15 years. In contrast, 5 of those were built just between 1998 and 2000.

If that is what you class as a large wooden coater. The around 100 feet tall wooden coasters still seem pretty popular. Many of them are arguably better than their larger cousins. Those large woodies never took off anyways. Unlike the Inverts which were very popular and then demand just disappeared.
 

Steely Dan

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I think the bigger issue with the super-sized woodies was that many of the parks that built them found them to become non-stop maintenance headaches. Once a traditionally tracked wooden roller coaster gets beyond the 60 mph range, they tend to start tearing themselves apart. Hence companies like CCI and then GCI and the others started stepping back from the height game. it just wasn't worth it.

You want a super fast roller coaster? Just make the track out of steel and save yourself the trouble.
 
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Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
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@Hyde Why is then the classic sit down coaster (in some form) or wooden coaster as popular now as ever?
I think the ultimately thesis I'm pointing to is: sit-down coasters have been, and always will be, the main roller coaster draw. "Novel" roller coaster types, while awesome and great, have not proven the same multi-decade staying power. Ultimately, is there a roller coaster type that has "unseated" the sit-down?

Or put another way:

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