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Bolliger and Mabillard the Cadillac of Roller Coasters

There are many different coaster manufacturers, some build small rides, others build massive ones. But none have the mystique and prestige of Bolliger & Mabillard. Their factory in Ohio is shrouded in secrecy – it’s practically the “Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory” of the coaster world:

B&M Logo

Even their logo is simple – just like how they design their rides, with simplicity in mind.

So, why are their rides always so much more expensive than others? And why all the prestige? Three words: quality, reliability and safety.

1.) Quality –

A B&M coaster is unmistakable, even from a distance. Their trademark “roar” grabs your attention – and their boxy track looks beefier than other manufacturers – because quite simply, it is!

By hugging the outside of the rails, B&M was able to tighten the tolerances of their wheels, making their rides incredibly smooth. Photo © Kris Rowberry

By hugging the outside of the rails, B&M was able to tighten the tolerances of their wheels, making their rides incredibly smooth. Photo © Kris Rowberry

It is said that the tolerance, or distance between the rails and the wheels is never more than the thickness of a sheet of paper. Most other manufacturers have noticeable gaps in their wheels, or which spin after the ride stops. Not a B&M. That’s why they’re so much smoother than other steel coasters – they’re simply built better…now that’s Swiss precision!

 

2.) Reliability –

When a B&M coaster stops operating – never get out of line. 99% of the time, it’s a simple computer error that needs to be cleared. Even if it’s a minor mechanical issue – it doesn’t take long to fix. That’s because unlike other manufacturers who are overly reliant on electrical and hydraulic restraint systems – B&M continues to use the tried and true ratchet system – a system that is highly reliable and easy to repair. That’s why these stations are traditionally louder than others – it’s metal on metal contact.

 

3.) Safety –

B&M has always prided itself on efficiency – the four across seating model moved twice as many people as comparable coasters – but they did it with without sacrificing safety, in fact – they increased it.

KMR_6389

Before B&M – no coaster had the ability to sit four people across a single row. This design innovation effectively doubled the capacity of other rides, while shortening the train. This decrease in forces allowed for tighter twists in the track. Photo © Kris Rowberry

This commitment to “getting it right the first time” has earned it’s most important asset: a flawless safety record.

You read right. B&M has never had a catastrophic failure or death on any of their coasters…EVER. (There have been three incidents involving people being hit by trains, but these were a result of guests trespassing on the infield, not a result of the ride or it’s manufacture.

B&M’s were one of the first to feature a redundant seat belt to backup their restraints – all without sacrificing the efficiency of the dispatches.

It is that sterling record that makes parks who choose B&M some of the safest in the world – and which commands such a higher price. Quite simply, you get what you pay for. This rings true not only in real life, but in the amusement world as well. A B&M coaster is like a new appliance – you can get the cheap-o model and save on the front end – or get the high-end model, and have it save you throughout it’s life.

A B&M is one of the best investments a park can make – so the next time track appears outside the factory in Ohio, cross your fingers it’s being delivered to your favorite park.

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