Should Wooden Roller Coasters Have Loops?

Coaster Questions Editorials and Rants

Wooden roller coasters haven’t evolved and spawned off as many sub-genres and types as steel coasters have in the past few decades. But in recent years, elements like 90-degree banking and smooth steel-like rides have started to change the story. Nothing would be as genre bending as another new looping wooden coaster, but should woodies have loops or just stay in their proverbial lane?

This may be somewhat of a rhetorical question as Rocky Mountain Construction seems to have plans for a looping wooden coaster already, but I know that there will be a variety of opinions on the matter. A while ago Scream Scape mentioned this article that references Rocky Mountain Construction’s ability to make a looping woodie:

According to Rocky Mountain, “We will be building cars we think will be revolutionary for the industry.” They go on to state that the combination of their new track and cars will be able to allow a wooden coasters to perform inversions, a feat no one has tried since Son of Beast at Kings Island.
Spokane Journal via Scream Scape

Son of Beast Kings IslandAnd perhaps, to be more accurate, the title of this post should be: “Should Coasters With Wooden Supports Have Inversions?” Because, if RMC has designed a hybrid like the New Texas Giant, then those steel rails technically make it a steel coaster, not a woodie.

Didn’t They Try This Already with Son of Beast?

I never got to ride Kings Island’s Son of Beast, but I do know that it’s reputation hasn’t been the greatest. The massive woodie that used to have a steel vertical loop, has been plagued by issues, but I don’t think they were a result of the ride’s loop. I’d love to hear from people who have ridden it.

My Take – There’s Room For Different Types of Woodies

There are many that don’t like El Toro and other prefabricated coasters because they are too similar to steel coasters, so I know that there are plenty of wooden coaster purists out there that would probably like nothing but classic woodies and their direct descendants. I say that there’s room for different types of wooden coasters. I think that there will always be a place for a traditional wooden coaster. But, if a park like Six Flags Great Adventure wants to set some kind of speed or steepness record with a prefab, why not? And if Silver Dollar City’s rumored 2013 hybrid coaster successfully executes a corkscrew or vertical loop, then I say that’s great!

CoasterImage has more great photos and videos of Kings Island including pics of Son of Beast.

What do you say? Should a looping wooden coaster even be attempted? Leave a comment below and vote in this poll. Image courtesy of CoasterImage. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

30 Comments

  1. I think that loops on wooden rollercoasters can only successfully be done if it is a hybrid type where the railing is smooth and the train is designed to be inverted. If they can't make it happen this way, then they should put the idea behind them until they have a solid plan of execution.

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