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Coasters that have gotten better with age?

Matt N

Strata Poster
Hi guys. When talking about roller coasters, it’s quite easy to assume that a ride peaks when it’s brand new and goes downhill with age in terms of the quality of the ride experience. However, there do seem to have been some examples where the ride has defied logic and actually managed to get stronger with age, so my question to you today is; what coasters seem to have gotten better with age, in your opinion?

For me, one that sticks out to me is Wicker Man at Alton Towers. When I first rode it in March 2018, I really, really liked it, don’t get me wrong; in fact, it hugely exceeded my expectations! However, in spite of being a fun, fast, smooth ride that I really enjoyed, it wasn’t the most intense in terms of forces, and it also had little to no airtime, by my recollections, and what it did have wasn’t especially strong. At the time, it just about made my top 10, and I’d ridden considerably less coasters at the time (WM was my 40th coaster, and I think it ranked at #9 or #10 for me when I first came off it). However, both of these flaws seem to have resolved themselves as the ride has aged, as it has picked up considerable speed and intensity since the opening season, in my opinion, and in direct contrast to being relatively devoid of airtime in its opening year, ejector airtime is now practically the ride’s middle name, as it seems to fling you over every drop with phenomenally strong ejector airtime nowadays! Currently, the ride sits at #3 for me out of the 74 coasters I’ve ridden, so the fact that it’s actually gained ground within my rankings in spite of me having nearly doubled my coaster count since my first ride on it must be a good sign! Even though some of that change could be attributed to my coaster tastes changing (at the time, I valued solely intense rides more, whereas I think I value fun, rerideable things that have a nice balance between intensity & rerideability more these days), but I definitely feel as though the coaster itself has also gotten considerably faster & more forceful since my first ride; it seems to grow on me a little more every time I ride it!

But what coasters seem to have gotten better with age from your experience?
 

chainedbanana

Mega Poster
One that comes to mind is Wodan - I've heard from several people it runs much better in recent years than its earlier days - which is probably due to some interim re-tracking and maintenance and not simple being 'worn in' - although there might be elements of that too!
 

MouseAT

Hyper Poster
One that comes to mind is Wodan - I've heard from several people it runs much better in recent years than its earlier days - which is probably due to some interim re-tracking and maintenance and not simple being 'worn in' - although there might be elements of that too!
That's the one that immediately came to mind for me. The difference between opening year and how it was running in late 2019 was just night and day. I think somebody (Jared, perhaps?) mentioned it was at least partly down to a change in wheels, which certainly sounds plausible.
 

cookie

Hyper Poster
One that comes to mind is Wodan - I've heard from several people it runs much better in recent years than its earlier days - which is probably due to some interim re-tracking and maintenance and not simple being 'worn in' - although there might be elements of that too!
I know it got re-tracked prior to the 2018 season and it ran a lot better for me then than it did in 2016.
 

Matt N

Strata Poster
Out of interest, does retracking make a wooden coaster run faster as well as smoother? I only ask because Wicker Man was retracked quite extensively over the off-season just gone, and the coaster apparently runs notably faster & smoother in 2021 than it did in the latter half of 2020?
 

MouseAT

Hyper Poster
Out of interest, does retracking make a wooden coaster run faster as well as smoother?
It can do. If the track work was good to begin with, it's not going to affect the speed much, if at all, but if the trackwork was a bit dodgy, resulting in high friction and excessive drag on the train, then fixing the track can prevent the train from being slowed down as much.
 

Thecoasterrus

Mega Poster
Apologies for the bump, but I have not seen these mentioned.

Silver Star has improved significantly over time in my opinion, maybe Europa is lighter on the trims these days; I am not sure.

Nemesis Inferno seems that bit more intense every time I go on it.

Alright, here's a controversial one; Infusion. It's likely due to my height, but I don't experience headbanging on this anymore, maybe I just know the ride too well, but it never seems that rough to me anymore; I'd take it over The Big One.
 

Wazzupnerds

Roller Poster
Being my homer self, I think Rampage at Alabama Adventures has aged like fine wine. The ride has held up to the Alabama heat/naders, and if you ask me, the tiny bits of roughness add to the rides name.
 

Fluorineer

Mega Poster
Silver Star has improved significantly over time in my opinion, maybe Europa is lighter on the trims these days; I am not sure.

That is definitely true. Back in the days when the German coaster scene entirely consisted of Silver Star vs GeForce, the trims were what turned almost everybody against Silver Star, and maybe it's just that the attention has gone elsewhere, but I haven't noticed the trims for a couple of years now.

I think Troy has aged very well btw. Once in a while you hear people who went on the Troy-Marathons back in 2007 complain about how rough it has become, but honestly, it has the perfect amount of roughness for a good wooden coaster. The layout is a neck-beater anyway, so why not capitalize on that.
 

rob666

Hyper Poster
Apologies for the bump, but I have not seen these mentioned.

Silver Star has improved significantly over time in my opinion, maybe Europa is lighter on the trims these days; I am not sure.

Nemesis Inferno seems that bit more intense every time I go on it.

Alright, here's a controversial one; Infusion. It's likely due to my height, but I don't experience headbanging on this anymore, maybe I just know the ride too well, but it never seems that rough to me anymore; I'd take it over The Big One.
Last Friday, Big One, National and Infusion were as rough as hell, and as rough as ever!
Streak, Steeplechase and Icon were acceptable, very short queues for night riding was excellent.
But oh the bruises.
 

Hyde

Matt SR
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
If only to prove a question noone ever asked: "Does a half-loaded or fully-loaded train ride better?"

Orion at Kings Island has greatly benefited from relaxed Covid protocols one year into operation. 😅
 
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