Jul
20
2007

That’s so twisted: Renegade breaks the roller coaster mold

Twist and shout: Renegade's first drop falls 91 feet and does a 90-degree twist to boot. (Image courtesy of Valleyfair)
Twist and shout: Renegade's first drop falls 91 feet and does a 90-degree twist to boot. (Image courtesy of Valleyfair)
I confess – I’m a roller coaster-holic. Last weekend I had the chance to try the newest roller coaster here in the Twin Cities: Renegade at Valleyfair Amusement Park. It was so cool, I had to check around to get the scientific scoop on this coaster. It’s simply the fastest rolling ride I’ve ever had.

To be honest, I wasn’t impressed to hear that the park was building a new wood roller coaster. The steel-tube model coasters have a lot higher performance specifications when it comes to height, speed and scariness. So I was pretty nonchalant as the train headed to the top of Renegade on our first ride. That changed in a hurry.

We ripped down a 91-foot twisting hill at a speed of 52 miles per hour and didn’t seem to slow down a bit until the end two minutes later. Valleyfair’s Caleb Lauritsen shared with me the significant differences between Renegade and most other roller coasters you’ve ridden.

Low rider: After the first big drop, Renegade hangs on to a lot of its kinetic energy by racing around a relatively flat track without a lot of big hills like most other roller coasters. (Image courtesy of Valleyfair)
Low rider: After the first big drop, Renegade hangs on to a lot of its kinetic energy by racing around a relatively flat track without a lot of big hills like most other roller coasters. (Image courtesy of Valleyfair)
“The rest of the track is mostly low to the ground. The trains have a large potential energy at the top of the first lift hill. That is transferred into kinetic energy on the way down the first drop. Since there are really no other extremely large hills on the ride after the first drop, the kinetic energy is maintained throughout,” Caleb shared in his e-mail to me. “This differs from, for example, the High Roller (the park’s other wood roller coaster). That coaster has several hills that are nearly as tall as the main lift hill -- which results in the kinetic energy being transferred back into potential energy several times during the ride.”

He continued: “Also notable is the construction of the trains. On most roller coasters, the train is made up of several cars that each sit on four wheels, with two or three rows of seats on each car. The cars on Renegade each have only one row of seats and one set of wheels. That allows the train to articulate "snakelike" along an extremely twisted layout.”

There is also some pretty steep banking on the corners of the track. At times it felt like your hears were parallel to the ground. And that banking, just like we see on a lesser extent on highways, helps maintain speed and energy through a corner.

Construction of Renegade was featured on Discovery Channel’s “Build it Bigger” show earlier this month. That episode will be reaired Monday, July 23, at 9 p.m. and again Wednesday, July 24, at 1 a.m.

Okay, so we’ve got the science stuff out of the way…the other cool thing about Renegade is that it’s named after that old Styx song by the same name. You can’t beat that 70’s music, can you?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Ark Boy's picture
Ark Boy says:

I'm a roller coaster lover and now I can't wait to try the Renegade (despite the fact that it shares its name with a Styxx song!).

My family and I went to Universal Studios this spring and rode Dueling Dragons several times. It's an awesome ride! And it's the only roller coaster that I've ever been on that posted signs that all riders should remove their prosthetic devices before boarding. Cool!

posted on Fri, 07/20/2007 - 7:20pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

I saw that episode of "Build it Bigger." Fascinating.

I am a HUGE fan of wooden coasters. OK, I really like ALL roller coasters, but there's a special place in my heart for the wooden ones.

King's Dominion, in Virginia, has a wooden coaster called the Rebel Yell. Many summers ago, they started occasionally running it with the cars facing backward, so you couldn't see what was coming. It was a totally different, and completely terrifying (in a good way) ride. But it also left you really beaten up.

A new wooden coaster is a thing of beauty.

posted on Fri, 07/20/2007 - 9:34pm
Jared's picture
Jared says:

You know what's better than roller coasters?
Church. Because you enjoy a roller coaster for about a minute, but you enjoy church for eternity. And I don't even like roller coasters anyway.
See y'all on Sunday!! : )

posted on Sat, 07/21/2007 - 3:22pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

ive already been on renegade and it is sooooooooooooooooooo awsome it goes soo fast and has lots of g force.

posted on Thu, 08/09/2007 - 10:52am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

anonoymous
renegade is there are to many turn s and it is not i ride for me

posted on Sat, 08/11/2007 - 12:27pm
Petey28's picture
Petey28 says:

its so much fun though

posted on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 10:26am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I think it is a great ride but it is kind of scary to see how big it is and that it is made out of wood! I LOVE IT MUCH THOUGH, forget church jared, for a while and enjoy the ride

posted on Tue, 05/19/2009 - 11:52am

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