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Ride of Steel

Darien Lake, New York-- Hypercoaster Ride Review

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)


Ride of Steel
©Arthur Levine, 2006. Licensed to About.com.
Its red track dominates the Darien Lake skyline and can be seen from the roadway leading to the park. Just looking at the impossibly high and steep first drop of Ride of Steel from a distance gets your adrenaline pumping. Up close, it takes more than a bit of nerve to hop into line and board the super-sized ride.

Ride of Steel Up-Front Info

  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 8.5
    Extreme height, acceleration, and speed (but no inversions).
  • Coaster type: Hypercoaster
  • Top speed: 73 mph
  • Height restriction to ride: Between 54 and 76 inches
  • Height of lift hill: 208 feet
  • First drop: 205 feet
  • Ride time: 2 minutes, 2 seconds
  • Ride of Steel and other Darien Lake Rides Photo Gallery

Up, up, and a-way up

The coaster cars have elevated seats and low-slung sides. Instead of an over-the-shoulder harness (there are no inversions), an unobtrusive seat belt and a single ratcheting safety bar add to the car's open and exposed feeling--the better to scare the daylights out of you.

The coaster uses a traditional lift hill. The train click-clack-clicks up, up, and WAY up. Then eeeeyah!, there's a delirious high-speed first drop followed by a wonderful burst of airtime (that free-floating, butterflies-in-your-stomach sensation) and an equally exquisite second drop.

From there, the coaster loses a bit of its oomph. Ride of Steel certainly doesn't limp along, but the second half of the ride, featuring two over-banked double helixes, doesn't pack the same punch as its first act. To me, it's a waste of kinetic energy to take a 73-mph train and send it racing in circles.

Ride of Steel is super-smooth

That's why I adore the similar Superman: Ride of Steel at Six Flags New England. (There is a near carbon copy of the Darien Lake ride at Six Flags America in Maryland.) The Massachusetts version has two fog-filled underground tunnels, lots of hills instead of helixes, and positively screams all the way to the loading station.

One of the earlier hypercoasters, Darien Lake's Ride of Steel is super-smooth (unlike the nearby Predator wood coaster which can be painfully rough). After the second helix run, before it returns to the station, Ride of Steel does navigate a few great bunny hills that deliver some nice brief spurts of airtime. More of those would have made the ride even more super.

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