The signature click-clack of the wooden roller coaster has become a sound of American summer. It has also landed amusement park operators in conflict, on occasion, with the local sound ordinance. While wheels may not be able to reduce the sound of happy screams, they can reduce the loud noises associated with a successful ride.
Polyurethane wheels can dramatically reduce the sound of cars on the tracks, which historically, wooden coasters have struggled using on flat, laminated metal tracks. In the past, wheels have degraded quickly, resulting in high maintenance and downtime. Now, however, modern polyurethane wheels can withstand more abuse and maintain their integrity.
Quiet Enough to Hear the Screams
While steel roller coasters focus on sharp turns, loops, and directional shifts, the traditional rough-and-tumble wooden roller coasters bring a more dramatic emotion to the riders. The natural sway and wobble that the car traffic generates are enough to deliver the excitement your riders are looking for. But with polyurethane wheels, the typical noise of metal wheels is greatly reduced, delivering a completely different experience.
The thrill of the ride is enriched by this hybrid experience of smooth, quiet wheels on a swaying track. To meet the demands of wooden roller coasters, Raeder Vogel has developed a special composition of polyurethane that can support the needs of wooden roller coasters.
Very few wooden roller coasters, today, operate with polyurethane wheels making the experience unique and unusual, something riders are constantly seeking.
Setting New Records for Wooden Roller Coasters
It’s been nearly a decade since Six Flags Great America introduced Goliath, which was built by Rocky Mountain Construction of Hayden, Idaho. At 165-feet tall, it plunges into a 15-foot-deep tunnel for a record-setting 180-foot fall. While the ride construction is dramatic and daring, part of the success of the ride is around its choice of wheel.
Goliath runs on polyurethane wheels, making it smoother and quieter than other wooden roller coasters. Six Flags’ expectation with this choice was to make the roller coaster more accessible to all ages and tastes by making a smoother, quieter ride. Goliath initially set three world records among wooden roller coasters, having the longest drop at 180-feet (55 m), the steepest angle of 85 degrees, and the fastest speed of 72 mph (116 km/h). It still holds the record for the longest drop. All while running on polyurethane wheels.
Moving from Steel to Polyurethane Wheels
Replacing steel wheels with polyurethane wheels takes a special composition that is produced by Rader Vogel. While other wheels have not been able to withstand the demands of wooden roller coasters, our composition has been able to meet the needs of wooden roller coasters.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can integrate polyurethane wheels into your next design, reach out to a NewcoUSA representative. We are the exclusive distributor of Raeder Vogel polyurethane wheels in the United States and can help you choose and specify the right wheel for your opportunity.
Contact us to learn how Raeder Vogel polyurethane wheels can improve your ride performance and improve your guests’ experience.