Review: Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point

Roller Coaster Reviews

It has been exciting watching the construction of Steel Vengeance as it transformed. From a lame-duck, once record-breaking wooden roller coaster, the former Mean Streak has come out of it’s wooden and steel cocoon to be reborn as a stunning and acrobatic-looking predator. Certainly no butterfly, Steel Vengeance appears to have been fed off of the intense energy and longing of the enthusiasts biding their time during the off-season.

Photo by John Patterson

A Little Background

Mean Streak opened in 1991 at Cedar Point, a rare wooden variant of the Sandusky, Ohio park’s many volleys launched during the roller coaster wars, mostly aimed at against Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. However, it was never a great ride, took up a huge piece of real-estate in Cedar Point’s FrontierTown, and it’s ridership dwindled as it became rougher and more boring over the years. Fortunately, it proves to be a solid basis for an ambitious Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) steel and wood hybrid project.

Photo by John Patterson

Full Disclosure

I have had exactly one ride on Steel Vengeance. Unable to attend the park’s media day, I was quite happily able to attend one of Cedar Point’s Passholder FrontierTown Hoedown ride preview events (where you were allotted one ride for the evening, scheduled in 90 minute time-slots).  I would also like to clarify that this was my first RMC.

Photo by John Patterson

Overall Thoughts

Having no basis for comparison against the manufacturer’s other reportedly world-class installations, I offer that it exceeds in many areas roller coaster enthusiasts relish. Steel Vengeance has a full palette of varying-intensity and frequent airtime moments (floater, ejector, and just wtf), fantastic drops, amazing head choppers, unrelenting speed, re-rideable smoothness, and the twisting gravity-defying acrobatic spins and dives RMC has become famed for.

Going

Photo by John Patterson

Going

Photo by John Patterson

Gone

Photo by John Patterson

The Best Part?

My favorite element (hands up all the way): the outward-banked hill. I’m certain this is the longest and strongest sustained airtime moment I have ever felt. If you were not supremely confident in the restraints and didn’t know what to expect, I imagine it could be terrifying. It makes a good effort at tossing you right out into the middle of Lake Erie. Follow that up with a strong speed-gathering dive, a floater-air pop before heading up into what I’d call a 570 degree zero-g roll, and it is just simply glorious.

Photo by John Patterson

And Then???

You can catch your breath and pinch yourself for 3 or 4 seconds as Steel Vengeance glides right through its mid-course brake run then drops the hammer. Barreling through it’s own superstructure, the second half leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. There is an intensity added by the innumerable beams and bents’ close proximity as the train flies through maneuver after maneuver, easily making you lose sense of which way is normally up, down, or anything else for that matter.

It Keeps Going

In the second half of the ride, there are a few brief retreats when you are back in the open, the train dashing from end-to-end, always including some pops of airtime. Finally, as if there was a need to remind the rider that they have been subject to something special, 5 more pops of airtime provide a thrilling icing to this cake.

Photo by John Patterson

Rating:

10/10 – I simply haven’t ridden a better coaster.  That is not to say that it has become my new favorite, I haven’t ridden it nearly enough to decide on that!

So What’s Your Take?

Have you ridden Steel Vengeance or other RMCs? How do you think Steel Vengeance compares to other well-appreciated coasters like El Toro, New Texas Giant, and Outlaw Run? Is there anything that would prevent this coaster from being a hit? Do you think Steel Vengeance will live up to the CoasterCritics’ Picks for 2018?

 

John is a proud Clevelander, and lifelong fan of roller coasters and amusement parks.

13 Comments

  1. Good review, John. Can’t wait to ride it! Everyone I know who’s ridden it says that it’s the best coaster in the world. Looks as if El Toro may finally be dethroned.

    Reply
    • In the past 7 days I have ridden SV and ET a number of times. Prior to this I had always rated ET amongst my fav coasters, but SV blows it out of the universe. There is no comparison. sV will win every major award for the next few years.

      Reply
  2. Oh boy oh boy looks like I’ll have to make the journey again!

    Reply
  3. “Floater, ejector, and just wtf”. This is fantastic. I need to lose weight so I can ride this. It’s gotta be able to unseat Toro as my number 1, and I have a good feeling about that!

    Reply
  4. Just rode Steel Venegeance today and it is relentless. El Toro has a better first drop in my opinion, and the rolling thunder hill is my favorite coaster moment ever. However the first two hills of SV are slightly better than El Toro’s in my humble opinion, especially the outer bank. It is indescribable and sustained air time. The rest of Steel Veangeance is long and breathtaking.. barely able to keep my hands up. it was hot day today so I dont know if it is running faster than usual, but if you like ejector air.. Sky Rush quality ejector air, this is the ultimate coaster for you.

    Reply
  5. I rode SV six times in two days. It’s hard to put it into words. This is not only my new #1 coaster, it is #1 by a huge margin. No other coaster comes close to this, and I’ve ridden more than 200. This is a blast from start to finish. People were wildly applauding, cheering and laughing at the end of every ride. I’ve never heard such wild reactions from people. I was out of breath at the end of every ride. I love, love, love this ride! SV has raised the bar for roller coasters.

    Reply
  6. My 8 year old has ridden millennium force for two seasons…..was 6 for his first mega coaster….he is 53″ but I’m concerned about him being a skinny kid given SV intensity. Has anyone seen little kids ride this ride. ..? Back when I took him on MY years ago… I didn’t see any other 6 year olds in line buti knew the ride well.

    Reply
    • Thanks for commenting! I can’t say I remember seeing any very young kids riding Steel Vengeance the last two times I was at Cedar Point but, admittedly, I’m not very good at gauging kids’ ages. I think that if he’s pretty brave (which he certainly sounds much braver than I was, even at 10 or 11 years old) he should be fine, but first and foremost, have him try the test seat. Steel Vengeance has some of the strongest ejector air I have experienced and even the perception of the restraint being too lose could be quite scary.

      Reply
    • I rode this four times in the last two days and didn’t remember seeing smaller kids on this. If I had small children, I would suggest to them some other coasters in the park. I was out of breath by the end of every run. It’s the most intense coaster I ever ridden.

      Reply
    • My 8 YO daughter who is just barely over 52″ rode it yesterday and absolutely loved it. She’s also ridden Dragster, Millennium Force, and Maverick and didn’t have any issues with those either so we weren’t too concerned about getting on Steel Vengeance, however it was my first ride as well. I was surprised by the intensity and amount of air time on the ride. I expected it to be a thriller, but it exceeded my expectations wildly, and I mean in a good way. As long as your little one is experienced with thrill rides, they should be fine, but it takes things to a level beyond anything else at CP partly due to the unpredictability of the elements, the close quarters, and the overall length of the ride.

      Reply
  7. Ride it 5 times this week and all I can say is WOW!! This has become my new #1 coaster in my book. Cedar point best park ever.

    Reply
  8. Theme Park Junkies (Australia) universally agree that this coaster is the best in the world. Nothing comes remotely close. An amazing achievement from RMC.

    Reply
    • So glad you could make the trip to experience the madness that is Steel Vengeance!!

      Reply

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