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The Smiler vs Saw The Ride; which Merlin Gerstlauer do you prefer?

The Smiler or Saw The Ride; which Merlin Gerstlauer do you prefer?


  • Total voters
    43

Matt N

CF Legend
Hi guys. Merlin Entertainments currently operates two Gerstlauer thrill coasters across its portfolio of theme parks; The Smiler at Alton Towers and Saw The Ride at Thorpe Park. These are two very different coasters; The Smiler is an Infinity Coaster with a record-breaking 14 inversions as its key hook, while Saw The Ride is a Euro-Fighter that hones in on its 101 degree drop and Saw theme. But I'd be keen to know; which Merlin Gerstlauer do you prefer?

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of either, but I'd perhaps controversially give Saw The Ride the edge. For me, it's been no rougher than Smiler as of late, and I much prefer the layout; I love Saw's pops of ejector airtime and great speed in places, while I find Smiler's repeated inversions a bit nauseating for my personal liking. I'll admit the first drop and the ending are pretty brutal even on a good run, but I'd argue that Smiler's ending is no better... I've had some pretty terrible Saw rides in the past, but all my recent rides haven't been as rough on the grand scheme of Saw rides, so as I'd probably say that Saw and Smiler are about equal roughness wise (from my recent experiences, anyway), and I prefer Saw's layout, I'd currently give Saw the slight edge. One thing I'll say about Saw is that its airtime is surprisingly phenomenal; it's probably one of the stronger UK coasters for airtime, in my view!

But which ride do you prefer?
 

Rob Coasters

Mega Poster
While I would be quick to say Smiler as I rank it higher, I'd give Saw the benefit of the doubt here and go for 'undecided' simply because it's been so long since I've done Smiler (4 years) and I don't remember half the ride.
 

Niles

Hyper Poster
Hummm this is like choosing do you prefer to be kicked or punched. I ride each now and then but they are not a must do on a visit to either park.

But i will go for the Smiler, its slightly "smoother" but i mainly appreciate how they cramped so much in such a small place, Saw does have better theming and both have some nice airtime at points but other than that they dont do much for me and just hurt is all.

One thing i will say is my favourite UK Gerstlauer is the Cobra, fun, smooth and has some air, great coaster. My favourite Gerst (and one of the best family coasters) is Firechaser Express, a brilliant coaster that is hands down better than Mystery Mine across the way, this company nails family coasters.

As of now i dont like any of their looping coasters, hopefully i can get on one of their loopers with lap bars only as they look to have some great designs out there.
 

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
I don’t think I will ever go on Saw again, definitely not on the front row.

Did two rides same day. Back row was fine.

Front row, the ‘pothole effect’ on the first drop was so severe that I don’t think the ride should be allowed to run like that for safety reasons. Severe back and head pain and a loud yelp from everyone on the front row. It was shockingly bad - actually concerning and totally unacceptable.

So, uh, Smiler. Yey.

Edit - it’s a shame as otherwise I’d easily pick Saw.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
I don’t think I will ever go on Saw again, definitely not on the front row.

Did two rides same day. Back row was fine.

Front row, the ‘pothole effect’ on the first drop was so severe that I don’t think the ride should be allowed to run like that for safety reasons. Severe back and head pain and a loud yelp from everyone on the front row. It was shockingly bad - actually concerning.

So, uh, Smiler. Yey.
In fairness, I have only done the back on my last two visits to Thorpe, so perhaps I’m simply getting lucky with it by mostly getting the back row?

Come to think of it, I do remember my front row ride in July 2021 being somewhat worse than either of my most recent rides (which are what I’m basing this critique upon)… although it isn’t the worst ride I’ve ever had on it. That would go to the back row I had in 2020… my head was pounding unbelievably after that one!
 
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Nitefly

Hyper Poster
In fairness, I have only done the back on my last two visits to Thorpe, so perhaps I’m simply getting lucky with it by mostly getting the back row?

Come to think of it, I do remember my front row ride in July 2021 being audibly worse than either of my most recent rides (which are what I’m basing this critique upon)…
Maybe. I seem to recall TMNT Shellraiser having lots of front row complaints as well.

Gerstlauer just seen to be dreadful from a roughness perspective. With so many decent steel rollercoasters out there that have no roughness at all, you have to be very forgiving to enjoy them.

Mystery Mine has the most violent head banging… in the dark ride sections at about 5mph!
 

Howie

Donkey in a hat
I'm gonna go for The Smiler.
Saw's OK but, apart from the theme, which is cool, the ride experience is broadly similar to about half a dozen other Gerst Eurofighters that I've been on.
The Smiler is at least totally unique and although I don't love it, I do have a certain degree of respect for what it achieved. It is a wild ride, it has good duration, a brilliantly wacky aesthetic and visually it's a marvel to behold, especially when it's 'duelling'. I don't even think it's that rough - the only significant jolt is that one at the top of inversion 12, the one where you dive down out of the cobra roll. That one sucks ass! But apart from that I usually find the smoothness of the ride perfectly acceptable. My biggest niggle is the layout, it's a bit repetitive and can occasionally make me feel dizzy/queezy if I'm not fully hydrated and in peak form.
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
I generally do not ride Saw, and if I do, it's never more than once... We once were almost begged to ride again on a particularly quiet day and we refused, it just has that horrible kind of rattle that gives you an instant headache.

I have no issues with Smiler at all, I find everything up to the last couple of inversions smooth, and even those last few are more headbangy than rattly, which I prefer as it doesn't instantly induce a headache, being tall enough to keep my head away from the restraints. I think Smiler is massively underrated, (amongst thoosies, it's probably the other way around, and overrated amongst GP.) I can reride it several times without issues.
 

Furiustobaco

Mega Poster
I think The Smiler has a heavily superior layout- it is unqiue, windy, and intense. Saw on the other hand is just a beefy eurofighter..

Both are very shaky but Saw is headbanging galore and always has a massive queue and

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Katy

Roller Poster
I just don’t like The Smiler. If it had fewer inversions or was a less compact layout, with something besides “loop loop loop loop loop” I’d rate it better. So for me, Saw wins as it actually does something besides inversions. Also I love Saw so that’s a big plus for me.
 

uwurawrus

Roller Poster
Definitely Saw. Better airtime, better drop, the dive loop after the midcourse is great and reminds me of Karacho's (albeit not anywhere near as snappy), a great indoor section and incredible theming.

I like Smiler but Saw is definitely the more interesting ride.
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
Am I missing something? Where is the airtime on Saw supposed to be?

Are we talking about the main drop and drop off the mid course? Because if we are then I think Smiler’s 2 ejector hills are way better. And I can’t think of anywhere else, the supposed ‘airtime hill’ does absolutely nothing on Saw.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
Am I missing something? Where is the airtime on Saw supposed to be?

Are we talking about the main drop and drop off the mid course? Because if we are then I think Smiler’s 2 ejector hills are way better. And I can’t think of anywhere else, the supposed ‘airtime hill’ does absolutely nothing on Saw.
I was talking about those 2 moments as well as the airtime hill. It could vary, but I personally get phenomenal airtime over both the airtime hill and the drop off the MCBR in particular, and the drop is always a great moment of airtime too, from my experience!
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
I was talking about those 2 moments as well as the airtime hill. It could vary, but I personally get phenomenal airtime over both the airtime hill and the drop off the MCBR in particular, and the drop is always a great moment of airtime too, from my experience!
I think the drop and the drop off the mid course are both decent enough. :) would agree with that. Still prefer the bunny hops on Smiler, but that’s down to a matter of what kind of air time you personally prefer. I maintain that the hill on Saw is pointless though.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
I think the drop and the drop off the mid course are both decent enough. :) would agree with that. Still prefer the bunny hops on Smiler, but that’s down to a matter of what kind of air time you personally prefer. I maintain that the hill on Saw is pointless though.
Fair enough! I don’t know if this makes any difference, but could the fact that I’m not particularly tall and have plenty of room between my shoulders and the top of the OTSR possibly enhance the feeling of airtime I get on Saw? I personally get a lot of airtime on both the hill and the MCBR exit, as well as the first drop!

Smiler’s airtime hills are still pretty great, though; the second one in particular is an awesome moment! To be honest, as much as I’m not generally a huge fan of Gerstlauer, I will concede that they are very good at integrating surprise airtime hills within their layouts; Saw, Smiler and particularly Speed all have great ones!
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
Fair enough! I don’t know if this makes any difference, but could the fact that I’m not particularly tall and have plenty of room between my shoulders and the top of the OTSR possibly enhance the feeling of airtime I get on Saw? I personally get a lot of airtime on both the hill and the MCBR exit, as well as the first drop!

Smiler’s airtime hills are still pretty great, though; the second one in particular is an awesome moment! To be honest, as much as I’m not generally a huge fan of Gerstlauer, I will concede that they are very good at integrating surprise airtime hills within their layouts; Saw, Smiler and particularly Speed all have great ones!
Definitely, a few of their rides have good airtime. Fury really surprised me, I wonder how that has aged?
 

DelPiero

Strata Poster
Saw for me, but it's not exactly an easy call, I find both to be almost unrideable. Saw's headbanging vs the rattle and god awful final inversions of the world record holder, pick your poison.

Saw gets the edge because of the cool indoor section, Smilers is ****e in comparison, as well as the airtime hill with the camera and the mcbr drop. At least is has airtime. Smilers airtime hills got trimmed a few years back, they are floaterish now.
 

HeartlineCoaster

Theme Park Superhero
I'm far less turned off by either than a lot of folks here it seems.
I prefer Smiler, especially with the way they're running it again now. The two trains dancing round each other is glorious in that tangled mess of intense inversions.
Saw's alright, one of the better Eurofighters.
 
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