B&M Roller Coasters Are Not “Forceless”

Editorials and Rants Geek Speak

In response to Bobbie’s recent post, 10 most intense roller coasters, someone remarked on Facebook that they were surprised Fury 325 was included in her list because the designer (Bolliger & Mabillard) is often criticized for creating “forceless” rides. Fury is a 325-foot tall giga coaster with a top speed of 95 mph. It’s one of the tallest, fastest, and longest roller coasters in the World.

As you’d imagine with that kind of stature, it delivers a really fast and intense ride. Trust me, a ride in the front seat will give you a good cheek-pressing thanks to those high-speeds. Read my full Fury review.

Are B&M Coasters Really Tame & Forceless?

So why do B&M roller coasters have the reputation of being forceless? They’ve made all varieties of thrilling, looping, and diving steel coasters ride-able and at times infinitely re-ridable for the masses. So, their creations can be appreciated by everyone, not just thrill seekers or those well-trained in the arts of defensive riding.

I will meet the critics half-way, in their feeling that there’s a “taming” of these twisted steel monsters. It’s true that you might find some loops are seamless and the flips don’t exert a lot of g-forces on your body. Their wing roller coasters are a good example. Both Wild Eagle and X-Flight maneuver through their loops and turns in such a silky smooth way that (to some) they might seem surprisingly tame given the odd seating position.X-Flight - Flight Tower - Six Flags Great America

You might also find more floater airtime (being lightly lifted out of your seat) than ejector airtime (being forcefully yanked out of your seat). On B&M Roller coasters you won’t typically find a helix or really intense turn that’ll cause grey outs from the g-forces (like Goliath at Magic Mountain) or extreme airtime (like Skyrush).

To Each Their Own, But B&Ms ≠ Forceless

But, I think many who use the term “forceless” are again those who prefer more extreme and challenging roller coasters. Those where the g-forces throw you around like a rag doll.

In my opinion, this is like people with a preference for really hot and spicy food claiming a food that’s hot to the majority of people is “not hot”. It’s relative.Hot Wings - Alondras Hot Wings Long Beach

And if I were going to be technical, there are actual g-force measurements that can prove B&M coasters are quite “forceful”, but I know that’s not what people really mean. So in wrapping up, I think this is what people are trying to say when they call B&M’s forceless:

Statement: “B&M coasters are forceless.”
Translation: “B&Ms are less intense than some other coasters.”

What’s Your Take?
Have you heard of B&M’s forceless reputation? What do you think? Leave your take below.

Photo Credit: Image 2 from punctuated via Creative Commons

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

6 Comments

  1. I agree. I vastly prefer B&M v-hypers and Gigas over Intamin ones except for Millennium Force. B&M rides give you the exhilarating feel of flying and floating while intamin ones are often unbearably uncomfortable or painful, limiting their re-rideability. Gosh. I miss Fury 325.

    Reply
  2. Since my Facebook comment was part of the inspiration for this article, I thought I’d comment here too. B&M is my favorite manufacturer, in large part because I like the smoothness. I prefer floater to ejector airtime, so I prefer B&M hypers to Intamin hypers, in general. I still like Skyrush, and I’ll happily ride it, but I won’t ride it five times in a row, like I will Nitro. I guess I’m not one of those hard-core enthusiasts who feel like if you didn’t gray out on the ride, it’s not good enough.
    As you say, it depends on the definition of “intense,” which I was defining as “positive Gs,” like Skyrush or Intimidator. I agree that the height and speed of Fury make it intense, just in a different way than Skyrush. I think part of the problem is that I correlate “intense” with “unpleasant.” I took a four-park trip in June, which included Carowinds, and if I think of the coasters I rode, in terms of “tossed around” or “ejector airtime,” I think I rode several rides that were “more intense” than than Fury — Superman: Ride of Steel at Six Flags America is on the list, and the two Vekoma Flying Dutchmen I rode, Batwing and Nighthawk. Even the GCIs I rode were pretty intense in terms of lateral forces, but that’s to be expected from a wooden coaster.
    And now that I’ve had another look at Bobbi’s list, I’m in strong agreement that any of the Batman: The Ride installations is pretty intense, even though they’re B&Ms, inverts, and not particularly tall. The combination of elements with no time to catch your breath in between makes them very intense, positive G’s or no.

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  3. Good point, Joel. Agreed that B&M coasters are not forceless. This is especially true of Fury 325, forceful enough to have given me whiplash, which is why I prefer Leviathan (also forceful but not excessively so). On the whole, however, I do think that Intamin coasters tend to be more forceful than B&M’s. But then I must admit to be somewhat prejudiced in favor of Intamin b/c they manufactured so many of my favorite coasters – e.g., El Toro, I-305, Superman SFNE, Storm Runner and so on.

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  4. I’ve always thought the claim that B&M’s were “forceless” was wrong. If I’m honest, even supposedly tame or smooth B&Ms like Great Bear break that stereotype for me (And on the opposite end of the spectrum, the Batman clones are too intense and not enjoyable). Joel, you did a great job explaining why that is in a concise and accurate analogy. I think the “B&M’s are forceless” stereotype became like a part of a political party’s platform: if you wanted to be a part of the community you had to agree with it. It was stated as an indisputable fact when coaster experiences are always subjective and up to interpretation.

    Reply
  5. I agree with you, Joel. I do have to admit, that with my first ride on Diamondback @ King’s Island, I did experience a little disappointment (even expressing the thought that the park’s Woodstock Express junior woody had more airtime and that the trim brakes should be removed straightaway) but I had jumped the gun. I’ve had a few dozen rides on Diamondback since, and I’ve come to appreciate it much more and learned why I hadn’t enjoyed it as much as I had hoped for at first (it mostly had to do with body mass). Sometimes I wonder if a ride’s familiarity leads to the thought of a ride being forceless (looking at the general formula of and over all #of B&M hypercoasters built for instance), but I’m firmly of the opinion that forceless is not an appropriate descriptor of the B&M beasts I’ve sampled (and certainly not to mention the gigas).

    Reply
  6. I like them, great company, but I agree that the newer rides at least feel smoother and not nearly as intense. Plus intense doesn’t hafta =car accident.

    Reply

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