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New coasters lean into the fun and go full tilt
Coaster designers continue to roll out innovations. One of the more leading-edge companies in the game, Maurer Rides, recently shared a preview of its new Spike Fun model, and it looks wild. The wackiest feature of the ride? Tilting seats.
You’d expect to see reclining seats at the fancy-shmancy multiplex or at the La-Z-Boy store. But on a coaster? According to the German company, the ride’s seats can tilt 45 degrees. As shown in a video that Maurer released, the seats can be programmed to recline in tandem with the launch of the coaster, thereby making the acceleration–and the thrills–feel all the more intense.
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And get this: The vehicle can stop on a dime and launch backwards. That, combined with the reclined seating position, is perhaps even crazier than tilting backwards while racing forwards. To put the Fun vehicle through its paces, the company retrofitted the car onto an existing Spike ride, Sky Dragster at Skyline Park in Germany.
It’s a new take on Maurer’s Spike line of rides. Technically, the powered “coasters” are not coasters, since they use a rack and pinion system. The cars maintain traction with the gear drive, even when heading downhill, and therefore don’t freely coast. The Spike coasters now operating are interactive rides that give passengers the ability to accelerate the single-car vehicles with onboard controls. Riders straddle the seats like a motorbike.
I got to give one of them a whirl when I rode Bolt, the first roller coaster at sea, aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras. It was a novel and giddy sensation, cruising around the upper deck of the ship at high speed along the single-rail track. The company showcases the interactivity to great effect on another one of its installations, Desmo Race at Italy’s Mirabilandia park. Passengers get to duke it out by racing on the twin track ride.
The Fun model plays with Maurer’s Spike concept. Instead of inline motorbike-style seats, the cars have two more conventional side-by-side seats. (Well, the way passengers sit in the seats is conventional. The fact they can tilt back and return upright? Not so conventional.) In addition to optional interactive speed controls, riders could have the ability to control the tilt of their seats with joysticks. Or, the tilting and speed could be pre-programmed and forego the interactivity. Instead of single-car trains, the Fun coasters are designed to include up to four cars that can accommodate up to eight passengers.
Maurer says that the layouts could include inversions. Think of what it might feel like to tilt your seat backward and accelerate your vehicle while going upside down in a loop and experiencing intense G-forces. Yowsa.
The Fun cars also have onboard audio and can be equipped with video for gamification applications. According to the company, it can, er, spike the juice of the powered coasters by adding an optional second engine to the cars. Maurer has a promotional video that outlines its capabilities.
So, where might we see Maurer’s first Fun attraction?
Have you been on a Spike ride? What do you think Maurer could do with its tilting seats?