Roller Coaster Elements: Explained

Roller Coaster Elements: Explained

When it comes to roller coasters, everyone
has heard of this – a vertical loop, a loop de loop, or just simply a loop. But have you heard of a cobra roll, a bunny-hop,
or even a zero-G roll? Believe it or not, these are all names of
roller coaster elements, just like the humble vertical loop. Today, roller coasters can do a huge number
of unique things, most of which have their own special name. These elements, along with their names, have
gotten more complex over time, but it’s easier if we start at the very beginning. Some roller coaster elements are self explanatory. We have the lift hill, which pulls riders
up to a great height; and we have the brake run, the section of track used to slow the
trains down. Some rides might feature a launch Instead
of a lift hill, which in turn requires a long piece of track known as the launch straight. After gaining height or speed, most roller
coasters feature a large element of some description, often in the form of a drop. Normally these are relatively steep, but some
take this to the next level. The beyond vertical drop sees riders fall
at angles steeper than 90 degrees, often going underneath the track above them. This more extreme version of a well known
manoeuvre is something seen throughout the world of roller coasters. Take the banked turn – a simple element found
on nearly all of the world’s coasters. However, a turn that continuously travels
in the same direction, while changing elevation is known as a helix. A classic example of this is the 360 degree
Helix, which sees guests climb or fall during a single full rotation. If the train is travelling at a high speed,
a normal turn might not be enough. At this point, guests could encounter an over-banked
turn – a piece of track which banks riders between 90 and 135 degrees, so they’re partially,
but not fully, upside down. Even the basic hill has some extreme and more
unique variations. For example, the camelback hill, seen on many
hyper coasters, is a large hill that is parabolic in shape. This provides riders with sustained weightlessness
as they crest the hill, making them float in their seat. The bunny hop on the other hand is a smaller
hill which is designed to cause riders to rise up and out of their seats quickly. As such, these types of elements are present
on many airtime focused rides. A modification to both of these is the off-axis
hill. This is essentially a traditional airtime
hill in which the apex is banked to the left or right. As a result riders are often pushed to the
side of their seat. Two airtime hills placed back to back, with
one higher than the other is called a double-up. While the reverse is called a double-down;
who knew! Other hills can be specific to certain types
of rides, such as the top-hat. Commonly found on launch coasters, the top
hat feature steep climbs, often resembling a tower in shape. While other elements, such as the S-Hill,
aim to combine multiple other elements together. Guests climb the hill through a banked turn,
and as they crest the apex their direction changes, causing them to exit the hill with
another turn banked in the opposite direction. Similarly, the non-inverting loop pairs a
vertical loop with a simple twist. This sees riders climb the loop, before rotating
to the left or right through it’s apex. This way guests are never truly upside down. In fact, all of the elements explained so
far are classed as non-inverting – meaning the track doesn’t place riders upside down. So what about inverting elements? Naturally, the most common and well known
is the vertical loop. Some rides have the loop angled to one side,
referred to as an inclined loop; while others have used it for inspiration. The dive loop sees guests climb into the sky
before rotating and navigating the 2nd half of a traditional vertical loop. If completed in reverse, starting with the
climb through the half loop, it’s referred to as an immelmann – neat! Another well known inverting element is the
corkscrew, which was widely used on the world’s first modern day inverting roller coasters. The corkscrew sees guests complete a 360 degree
roll either to the left or right. This rotating motion sparked the creation
of a whole range of new and exciting elements. Including the barrel roll, a 360 degree spin
with a slight change in elevation; or even the inline-twist, which sees the track rotate
on a fixed axis while the train spins around it. The opposite of the inline twist is the heartline
roll, an element which causes the centre of the riders to rotate on a fixed axis. As a result, the track appears as if it’s
spinning around the centre of the train. Finally, the Zero-g roll takes twisting to
a whole new level. Shaped like an airtime hill, this element
sees guests climb up, before completing a full 360 degree rotation at the apex of the
hill. As riders flip over they experience total
weightlessness, and float in their seats. Naturally, these rolls can also be incorporated
into drops as well. The twisted drop, or barrel roll drop, sees
the trains flip while they plummet towards the ground. Some inverting elements even mix a combination
of other elements to provide unique experiences. For example, the cobra roll is common on looping
rides, and consists of 2 half loops separated by 2 half corkscrews. Guests climb a half loop, inverting them,
before twisting through the 2nd half of a corkscrew. This is then completed again but in reverse,
causing the direction of the train to change, and riders to complete a total of 2 inversions. By flipping the 2nd half of the cobra roll,
so guests exit in the same direction as they enter, you get something known as the sea-serpent
roll. Meanwhile, the Batwing on the other hand uses
the half loop and half corkscrew in a different order to create a whole new element. Riders enter the first half of a corkscrew,
followed by the 2nd half of a loop. The same two elements are then completed in
reverse; again causing riders to change direction while going upside down twice! But what if you combine two elements that in themselves are already a combination of two elements? Well you end up with something like this,
the Staffordshire Knot, named after a traditional knot! This monstrosity sees a batwing intertwined
with a cobra roll. Due to the nature of the ride featuring this,
two trains can navigate each element separately, at the same time – leading to a very cool
duelling effect! Several elements on the other hand are simply
inverting versions of their non-inverting cousins. For example, the inside top hat sees riders
climb the inside of a top hat element, placing them upside down at the top. While the Zero-G stalls flips guests upside
down all while they traverse the underside of what looks like an airtime hill. Again, this gives riders a weightless sensation
as they hang below the track! Most of the elements discussed so far feature
names that roughly describe the motion of the train; but there’s a whole list of roller
coaster elements that are quite the opposite. The flying snake dive is a prime example. After completing an upward 360 degree heartline
roll riders enter the flying snake dive and plummet towards the ground through an element
that partially resembles a deformed dive loop. Or what about the trick track double up? That’s a double up, with the 2nd hill banked
to one direction, followed by a 3rd hill, on the same level, banked in the opposite
direction! But in my eyes there’s one element to rule
them all; the fantastic banana roll. Shaped like a banana, this inversion can be
thought of as morphed cobra roll that doesn’t level out half-way through. Although there is the demonic knot, the norwegian loop, the step-up underflip, the pretzel loop, and the top gun stall. Who knew there was a whole collection of weird
and wonderful roller coaster elements out there. With every year, a new element seems to be
born, often with a more unique name than the last. Let me know some of your favourite roller
coaster elements in the comments down below. Anyway, thank you for watching, and we’ll
see you all next time. Did you know about the new, awesome
Coaster Bot pin badge? You can check them out now by clicking the icon in the top right hand corner of your screen!

100 thoughts on “Roller Coaster Elements: Explained

  1. I still remember my first vertical loop…and that was on the Incredicoaster at Disney California Adventure in 2015, back when it was known as California Screamin'.

    Silver Bullet at Knott's Berry Farm gave me more firsts in terms of inverting elements, being the cobra roll, the zero-g roll, and the two corkscrews.

  2. Well, I kinda like sidewinders. It's basically a half-loop followed by a half-corkscrew. They are often forgotten, while immelmans take the throne.


    Me being a rollercoaster enthusiast : "Uhm that's what you call a Cobra roll, Zero-G roll, corkscrew, dive loop and a heartline roll"

  4. My favorite element has to be Lighting Rod's quadruple down. Just because it has to be the rarest roller coaster element.

  5. top 5 favorite elements
    -sustained ejector hill
    -stengel dive
    -zero g roll
    -hydraulic or compressed air launch
    -rapid changes in direction / blackout turns

    omg thats why maverick is my favorite roller coaster

  6. Mine is the one and a half inversion 540 degree zero g stall found on a grand total of zero b&m flyers. There is a one and a half inversion 540 degree zero g roll found on flying dinosaur tho

  7. I love the 180 degree stall, and banana roll..

    Even though I’ve ridden two coasters with these elements. They are both different and both do the same thing but differently.

    TMNTs Banana Roll inverts Once whole Steel Curtains inverts twice..


    Oh yea:




  8. My favourite is the cobra roll in the front seat on Colossus. Especially when you exit out the cobra roll, it's a great feeling.

    Also some good elements include the outward banked turn on Icon, zero G roll on Nemesis Inferno, and the ejector airtime hill on Icon.

  9. It's not an element per say … but a rare feature I like is the Vertical Loop around the lift hill (Banshee – King's Island; Kumba – Busch Gardens Tampa; Riddler's Revenge – Six Flags Magic Mountain and Flash – Lewa Adventure)

    edit: Stafforshire Knot … great engineering feat. And I've read that Smiler can have 3 or 4 trains running at once because of how it's constructed.

  10. My favorite element is the “270 degree double inverting corner stall” but I noticed that u didn’t say anything about the butterfly roll?

  11. The only ride I've been on with a sea serpent roll is Medusa at Discovery kingdom, which gives a surprising amount of lateral gs for a floorless. Great ride, despite the lack of theming.

  12. And some parks have a habit of going overboard in naming their elements.
    Some parks in Kentucky. That are Kingdom-themed…

  13. I've been wanting a video like this for a while! I've wanted to know the definitions/differences for the zero-g, heartline, barrel roll, etc. So thank you!

  14. Gotta say, thank you for this video! Ever since I started getting into roller coasters on YouTube I've heard all of these element names. They all sounded exotic and in a way inaccessible to someone like me who has a limited knowledge of roller coasters in general. This really simplified it all for me and helped me better understand these element names and what they look like. I have to admit I'm still learning these terms and I'll probably be referring to this video a bunch when I watch roller coaster reviews. Thanks again!

  15. The flying snake dive on Storm Runner at Hershey Park. That coaster is grossly underrated – probably because of its short track length? This is a very intense coaster, but highly re-rideable. I think you show a clip in your montage of the element. IMO, this coaster is better than the overated Taron, but also better than Maverick at Cedar Point.

  16. My favorite element (and definitely the one I'm most excited to someday get on) has to be the outer-banked turn on SV!

  17. what it actually is: corkscrew, 0-g roll, immulmen, banana roll.

    what the GP think it is: loop, loop, loop, loop, loop, I N V E R T E D C O R K S C R E W

  18. I love the pretzel loops on B&M flyers. The best example is the one on Tatzu at Six Flags Magic Mountain. To get the best effect, ride in the very back row.

  19. Pretzel loops on flying coasters are awesome. There's nothing like diving headfirst towards the ground with 2 dozen strangers.

  20. Lagoon roll, Maxx dive, and Untamed's 270° double-inverting corner stall seem to open a new trend in inversion design. I wonder what would come next. Quad-inverting pretzel knot, perhaps?

  21. thanks so much for this. I watch these rollercoaster videos all the time but cannot always wrap my head around even some of the commonly used elements. thanks!

  22. My favourite element has to be the duelling Staffordshire Knot as it feels great to go through and can provide absolutely excellent views/photo chances from off-ride.

  23. I have met you before around June 2 years ago at alton towers i was with my school in the wickerman que and u were in front of us

  24. Damn here I thought loop de loop was just another way people would call just a standard loop but making it seem intense. Well good thing Viper has it!

  25. Here’s a bit of info he didn’t mention, the Cobra Roll is, similar to the Banana Roll, named for its shape, which is similar to a cobra head

  26. I just got back from my five day trip to SF Magic Mountain and Knott's Berry Farm five hours ago! After that, (and my 2 week trip to England in late Oct/Early Nov.) I can appreciate the footage. My favourite elements are drops, camelbacks, and post MCBR dips, (I guess I'm a traditional coaster enthusiast) but I'll enjoy any element done well. It all depends on the coaster; for example The Smiler has none of these elements and it's my favourite coaster at Alton Towers. Then again; my favourite element in that coaster is the airtime hill in the 2nd half. Too much more for me to cover here right now, except to say thanks for this video!

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