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 Review of Roar @ Six Flags America
2 Rating Posted by: Timberman on 9/25/2006 12:19:00 AM
Normally, I blame Six Flags customary neglect or reprofiling for the relatively lackluster ratings I tend to give their wooden roller coasters. This time I cant do that. For an eight-year-old GCI, Roar is running tolerably well, and I could detect no gratuitous trim brakes or unnecessary neutering. Six Flags has done a better job keeping up this wooden installation than just about any other of its age that Ive experienced in the companys stable, and they should be commended accordingly.

No, this time, I have to divide the blame between GCI and yours truly. Great Coasters International has done some wonderful work for the diehard wood devotee, but they also have this maddening tendency from time to time to build gorgeous roller coasters whose rides do not live up to their looks. Lightening Racer was a similar (and more egregious) tease. That Roar surpasses the ride of the Hershey Park temptress probably has much to do with the formers PTC trains. The weight and tracking of the PTCs amp up Roars intensity level over Lightening Racers disappointing Millennium Flyers with those tiny little skateboard wheels that never seem to pick up any momentum.

In any event, Roar starts out promisingly enough, with a steep dive that plunges to the right into a climbing s-curve. From there, its all curves all the time, with nary a straight or unbanked section of track over the next 3000 feet. The result is a ride that, while not exactly boring, just isnt much fun. Steeply bank turns look cool and imposing, but what they really do is turn lateral forces into positive gravitational forces. This is why bike racers can pedal around those little velodromes without sliding all over the place: the speed of the bikes plus the banking of the track makes a tiny oval feel like a straight stretch of road to the cyclist. Same with Roar; sure it has a bunch of curves and directional changes, but any lateral forces these elements might deliver are eaten up by the steep banking of the track.

This brings me to the point where I have to accept responsibility for knocking at least a point off my rating based purely on subjective preferences. If you like a curvaceous layout with heavy positive Gs and a multitude of crossovers and directional changes, than I heartily recommend you check out Roar at your earliest opportunity. However, I cant think of a more useless statistic for a roller coaster than the number of crossovers and directional changes it has. Avalanche at Timber Falls Adventure, for example, has exactly zero crossovers or directional changes, but it is head and shoulders above Roar, in my book, because it has airtime and rib-crunching laterals to go along with its neat sections of track that climb the walls.

Airtime is pretty popular, but rib-crunching laterals are more of an acquired taste, so I wont argue with those who are perfectly happy to let Roars underwheels take the heat off their thoracic cavities. I, for one, was much more pleased with the final helix of the Wild One, whose shallow banking makes it a sort of anti-Roar. But even the relatively modest offerings of Six Flags America are big enough to encompass both tastes, so if Roar is more your tune, then go, cat, go. As for me, though I take no pride in disparaging any wooden roller coaster, Id be lion if I said I was, in the mane, all that impressed.

Review Comments

hrrytraver on 9/25/2006 9:38:03 AM said:
ay, senor madera, sfa is is less than an hour from casa traver. next time ya go, give i a heads up, eh? hurt feelings aside, i agree with your review. i had a much less detailed blurp in my review regarding the banking, but coming from a similar angle (pun int). i still had a good time with roar, though. perhaps its because i ran into friends serendipitiously and we shot a lot of hand held movies while riding roar (the voluptous structure looked wonderful in the gold october late afternoon light). i cant honestly say the ride is without energy - its just not nearly as sweet and jammin as the W.O.

as always a pleasure reading your reviews which often resolve on little pun cadenzas.

BobFunland on 9/25/2006 11:44:28 AM said:
I would actually rack it up to the trains and not the park (I think Wild One proves SFA does know how to take care of wood) - those PTCs that you old folks like just dont track well on the GCIIs. Gwazi and Hersheys Cat run PTCs and are equally rough - in fact, I think this is the most tolerable of the bunch. However, with Millennium Flyers, you would probably hate it for being too smooth like Lightning Racer, and for not delivering a ferocious ride, so I guess it doesnt matter much. Just say "I dont like GCII"
Hercules on 9/25/2006 3:59:58 PM said:
I dont like GCII.
Timberman on 9/26/2006 12:12:05 AM said:
Sorry, ht. I wasnt sure we were going to go until about 20 minutes before we left. I also had to squeeze in some time at the office, and it turned out to be quite the abbreviated trip by Timber family standards. Ill be sure to give you the heads up when we head back that way for Fright Fest.

B-Fun, Im not ready to give up on GCI just yet. I just wish theyd work in Wild Cat mode a little more often.

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