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Types of Roller Coasters

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There are many different types of roller coasters. A roller coaster’s type depends on the design of the track and the design of the car. Some roller coasters only became famous because of their unique design. An example of one roller coaster would be X2 at Six Flags, Magic Mountain in California. 

Below are the most common types of roller coasters. To see more types click here  Types of Coasters 2


A suspension roller coaster is where the track is above the speeding car as shown in the picture at the right. Suspension roller coasters are unique because when the car goes through an inversion (ex. Loop , Corkscrew, etc.), the inversion seems “flipped” in a way, giving you a new perspective. Cars usually hang (in-place) with rows of four. Usually contains many inversions.

Regular Steel

A steel roller coaster is your basic up, down, side-to-side roller coaster made (almost)completely out of steel. They can also have an inversion here and there. Usually smooth with cars that have rows of two. It is the most common type of roller coaster in the world today.



Wooden coasters are also very unique because they are America ’s past time of roller coasters and are technically the first type of roller coaster that ever existed. Because of this they are often very low tech. Most wooden coasters, unfortunately, cannot do any inversions. They can only turn and go up and down. This is because the wooden coaster’s cars only have 8 wheels on each car instead of 12 wheels like steel roller coasters do (depending on the design, though, these numbers can change due to unique car design). To see a diagram and an explanation of why a wooden coaster has less wheels than a steel coaster and what it has to do with inversions, click here  Steel Car Vs. Wooden Car

You might also think wooden coasters are made completely out of wood but, there not! There is actually a thin, steel rectangle that acts as the track through out the whole ride that the cars ride on. You see that dark spot on the track in the picture? I put that there to show you the metal track.                                                                                 

Suspended Swinging

A suspended swinging coaster is a steel coaster that is a close relative to the suspended coaster. Actually, it is a suspended coaster but the only difference is the car design. On a suspended coaster, the car body is mounted on hinges that connect to the main car that rides on the track. Because of this, the car is free to swing in a horizontal motion. But to keep the car from breaking off the hinges because of too large a motion, air pistons (inactive) are used to make this swinging motion smoother and slower with out diminishing the effect. This unique car design allows turns to have more "thrill" in them becuase you swing with the turns (trust me, it's pritty cool). The is one down fall to this design though, there are no inversions. This is because of safty measures. For example, if the train gets stuck at the top of a loop the car will lean to one side too far and actually break the hinge from too much weight. Cars are usualy seat people two per row.

Steel Stand Up

A steel stand up coaster is a steel coaster you stand up in! Thats basically all it is but I wonder how it was conceaved? Maby the people who make coasters finnaly thought that all those people that are told not to stand up in a regular coaster and got their heads banged off deserved a coaster for themselves . On stand up coasters you can break that rule about standing up and do it all you want; seriously! Standing up also gives you new and exciting veiws and feelings on different inversions and turns thoughout the ride. The cars are also different. Most stand up rides have a bicycle like seats between you and the shoulder harnests to keep you from falling out. The seats also adjust to your height for further comfort. (Picture: Riddler's Revenge ~ Six Flags - Magic Mountain -- Velencia, CA.)


Steel Flying

A steel flying coaster follows riders to feel like they have taken flight on an out of control plane ride in the middle of a roller coaster park. At the station, the cars sit at 90 degrees with the track to allow riders to get on and then is proped up parallel with the track so they are looking strait down at the floor. During the ride, this "illusion" gives the rider a whole new experence by making them feel like they are flying. Even though this is a great type of roller coaster, they are, unfortunatly in low numbers in the US (I think it is because of cost issues). This type of ride also gives a whole definition of perspective for inversions. Cars usually sit people in rows of 4 and have advanced safety systems.

Steel Boomarang

A steel boomerang coaster (or sometimes called a "front-back" coaster) can be a thrill to any man who likes to do stuff backwards. That's right. This coaster was ment to retrace its steps thousands of times every day. Most boomerang coasters are a version of suspension coasters and can come in many different designs (but some boomarangs are like regular steel coasters). On most (see pic. 1 - DeJa Vu ~ SFMM), a cable lift draws the car backwards, out of the station, into a 90 degree, look-down angle; and then lets you go. You fly through the track untill you hit a second tower also containing a cable lift which pulls you to the top of that tower. Then it lets you go on another free ride of the track backwards. On some, you are launched out of the station (see pic. 2 - Wicked Twister ~ Cedar Pt.).

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