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The Ultimate Inverted Roller Coaster Guide: All You Need to Know

Many different types of roller coasters can be found at theme parks, with each one giving riders a completely different experience.

In this guide, we will explain what an Inverted Roller Coaster is, who invented the term, and what the most popular Inverted Coaster rides in the world are.

What is an Inverted Roller Coaster?

An inverted roller coaster is a type of roller coaster where the track is located above the riders, allowing riders to freely hang their feet throughout the ride.

afterburn carowinds inverted coaster.

The track of an inverted roller coaster consists of a steel structure with the seats directly attached to the wheel carriage, and the train itself positioned underneath the track.

It is designed to provide an exciting and smooth ride, including elements such as steep drops, sharp turns, and quick changes in direction.

Inverted coasters are extremely popular due to creating a sensation of flying for riders.

Inverted Coaster's Design & Ride Experience

roller coaster inversions

Inverted roller coasters feature many different types of inversions that offer unique sensations for riders including:

  • Vertical Loop: A 360-degree loop that positions riders upside-down at the top. The track twists a full 360 degrees to complete the loop, providing a moment of weightlessness as riders pass through the inversion.
  • Cobra Roll: A combination inversion where the train enters a half-loop, followed by a half-corkscrew, and exits with another half-corkscrew and half-loop. This sequence creates an inversion that resembles the shape of a cobra's hood.
  • Immelmann Loop: A partial loop followed by a half twist or a roll, leading into a track that runs parallel to the entrance track. This inversion is named after a World War I flying maneuver and gives riders the sensation of a sudden change in direction.
  • Corkscrew: A tight, helical twist that resembles the shape of a corkscrew. The track twists 360 degrees, turning riders upside-down and then right-side up again in a relatively short period.
  • Zero-G Roll: An inversion where riders experience a brief moment of weightlessness (zero gravity) as the track twists 360 degrees, turning them upside-down and then right-side up again.
  • Batwing: A combination of inversion elements that begins with a half loop, followed by a half corkscrew, leading riders into another half corkscrew, and concluding with a final half loop. This element is named for its resemblance to the wings of a bat in flight.

The height range for inverted roller coasters typically varies from about 120 feet to nearly 200 feet.

This range makes inverted roller coasters suitable for both beginner and experienced thrill-seekers, depending on the specific ride's height and intensity.

Who Invented the Term: Inverted Coaster?

The inverted roller coaster concept was first introduced by Bolliger & Mabillard in 1992 at Six Flags Great America, taking the world by storm when debuting Batman: The Ride. 

Over the years, other roller coaster manufacturers have followed in Bolliger & Mabillard's footsteps and developed their own inverted coaster designs.

Most notably, Vekoma presented their Suspended Looping Coaster in 1994, which helped the concept of an inverted roller coaster design rise in popularity.

Popular Inverted Roller Coasters in the United States

Batman: The Ride - (Six Flags Great America)

batman the ride inverted coaster

Batman: The Ride is the first inverted coaster having first debuted in 1992, and features five inversions consisting of vertical loops, corkscrews, and a zero-gravity roll.

Alpengeist - (Busch Gardens Williamsburg)

Alpengeist is the tallest inverted coaster in the United States reaching heights of 195 feet and speeds of up to 67 miles per hour.

Riders will experience six inversions throughout the course, a large vertical loop, and a cobra roll. 

Raptor - (Cedar Point)

raptor cedar point

Raptor held the title of the tallest and fastest inverted roller coaster when it debuted in 1994.

The B&M creation boasts six inversions, with its distinctive cobra roll being the first-ever featured in an inverted coaster. Raptor's popularity has since remained steadfast amongst Cedar Point's impressive collection of roller coasters.

Manta - (SeaWorld Orlando)

manta entrance

Manta is an inverted roller coaster standing 140 feet tall, featuring a drop of 113 feet, and reaching speeds of 56 mph.

This coaster features a 3,359-foot track layout and a ride time of approximately two and a half minutes.

Manta is unique in that it features a "flying" position where riders are suspended below the track and experience the sensation of flight.

Afterburn - (Carowinds)

This inverted coaster stands 113 feet tall, has a drop of 125 feet, and reaches speeds of 62 mph, spanning 2,956 feet.

Afterburn opened on March 20, 1999, and it was originally named Top Gun: The Jet Coaster.

The coaster was renamed Afterburn following Cedar Fair's purchase of Paramount Parks in 2006.  

Talon - (Dorney Park)

talon inverted coaster dorney park

Talon debuted on May 5, 2001, standing 135 feet tall, featuring a drop of 120 feet, reaching speeds of 58 mph over a track that spanned 3,118 feet.

Talon has a total of four inversions, including a zero-g roll and a cobra roll, and is known for being smooth and quiet, as the tracks were filled with sand and gravel to reduce noise levels. 

Wicked Twister - (Cedar Point)

Wicked Twister holds the title as the tallest and fastest inverted impulse coaster in the world, reaching speeds of up to 72 miles per hour.

Opened in 2002, the coaster features a unique double-twisting U-shaped track with two 215-foot vertical spikes.

Wicked Twister also uses a linear induction motor to take riders both forwards and backward throughout the ride.

Montu - (Busch Gardens Tampa)

Debuting in 1996, Montu features seven inversions, a zero gravity roll, an Immelmann loop, and a batwing making Montu extremely popular among roller coaster fans.

Inverted Roller Coasters Outside of the U.S

Nemesis - (Alton Towers)

Debuting in 1994, Nemesis became Europe's first inverted roller coaster.

Nemesis features four inversions with a unique ride theme, made up of a monstrous alien creature that is held captive by the ride's track.

Nemesis Inferno - (Thorpe Park)

Opening in 2003, Nemesis Inferno is another B&M inverted roller coaster, featuring four inversions while taking riders through landscaped terrain and volcanic theming.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Tallest Inverted Roller Coaster?

The tallest inverted roller coaster is the Alpengeist at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, with a height of 195 feet.

What Are Other Names Commonly Associated With Inverted Roller Coasters?

Inverted roller coasters are sometimes referred to as suspended looping coasters or inverted looping coasters, due to their unique design of having trains running beneath the track along with featuring multiple inversions throughout the ride.

What Are the Disadvantages of Inverted Roller Coasters?

The main disadvantage of inverted roller coasters is that they may not be suitable for all riders due to the intensity of the ride experience.

Some riders may experience discomfort or motion sickness during the ride, especially those who are prone to vertigo or have certain medical conditions.

Additionally, the inverted design may make it challenging for riders with mobility issues to board and exit the vehicles.

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