In the world of coasters, it is interesting how many different concoctions there are for riding - above the track, below the track, beside the track (a-la X), sitting down, flying, and even standing up! I wonder how long before we are riding a coaster while lying on our backs. Many of these particular types go through booms, as did the stand-ups of the mid 1990s. The pioneer during that time was B&M. Yes, there were other stand-ups tried by the likes of Intamin and TOGO, but the heavy hitters were B&M. One of their biggest installations of the stand-up genre was Mantis at Cedar Point. Turned out that Mantis ended up being my first (and to this point only) stand-up coaster, and truth be told, I really enjoyed it!
Mantis is an interesting creature to look at, especially the baffling second half that is an intertwining, tangled mess of track that is as beautiful as art, albeit a Picasso.
The rich colors look great, and the placement partially over that same swampy murk as Iron Dragon works well for the ride. Im not sure if its a typical characteristic of stand-ups, as this is the only one Ive ridden, but this one almost always has a pretty sizable line that moves rather slow. The crew seems pretty good, but there also seems to be plenty of checks that are needed before they can dispatch. So, be prepared for a decent wait, unless you can hit it rather early/late in the day. I will say that the standing position while riding is definitely unique and a pretty cool feeling. Before long, its out of the station and up the impressive lift.
Theres a nice little dip and curve off the lift to turn around and also build up a little energy before tackling the first drop, which is very good. On the way down, you can feel an ever so slight hit from a trim brake, but unlike Mean Streak, I actually like the result of this one. You lose very little speed, but just enough to hit the massive vertical loop at the PERFECT speed, producing some amazing hangtime at the top of the loop before plunging back down. The sensations felt here are powerful and intense (and equally great!). Next up the train glides smoothly through a nice dive loop, before executing a high turn and then the very cool inclined loop, which is forceful and fun, along with being something strange to see the first time you look at it. At this point the ride heads into the MCBR, after navigating a first half that is in the upper "9" level, full of thrills and great elements taken at a perfect pace. Well, as you can see, my rating is a bit lower, and thats because the second half just isnt quite as good. That previously mentioned tangled web of track turns out to be almost too ambitious by B&M, and it gets a bit rough in spots. Even the final inversion, a very intense corkscrew, is a bit shaky. Definitely not a deal-breaker, but it seems that Mantis tends to sputter out as it heads into the brakes. The first half is outstanding, and really the highlight of the ride. And although the second half isnt bad, maybe another inversion or two thrown into the mix (as opposed to the bending of track in every direction imaginable) would have rounded things out better. As it is, Mantis still winds up being a great coaster for me, and I found all my rides on it to be fun and enjoyable.
For the most part, I found Mantis to be very smooth, with a few exceptions after the mid-course brakes. Ive not gotten any real head-banging on this coaster, and certainly none of the "ear-bashing" that some folks have been unfortunate enough to receive. It seems like the kind of coaster that gives a wide array of rides, mostly dependent upon the rider themselves (as in, their physical makeup, height, etc.). Perhaps Im just the right rider to get a mostly pain-free experience on Mantis, who knows. But I think the innovativeness of coasters like this alone is worth trying it out at least once. Mantis brings plenty to the table, like a winning layout, great speed and forces, and strong i