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:
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!
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.
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.