Top 7 Most Underrated Roller Coasters

According to RCDB, there are currently over 5000 operating coasters in the world. I don't know about you but to me that's a LOT of roller coasters, which means it makes sense that in our discussions on forums and social media we don't always giver certain coasters their moment in the sun that many of them arguably are more than deserving of. Obviously this comes down to a few factors - you have to take into account each individual's personal taste when it comes to what makes a 'good' coaster. This has been thrown around as an excuse as to why we don't have an 'official' coaster ranking body like we do for say, films, but I'd argue that if Rotten Tomatoes exists for movies then surely something similar could exist for coasters as ranking both a film and a movie depend on a pretty similar set of factors?

You then have to take into consideration what I would call the 'flavour of the month' factor. The likes of Icon, Steel Vengeance and Taron are all everybody is talking about now but in a few years when bigger and better coasters come on to the scene it's very likely the mentions of these currently iconic rides will slowly dwindle away. Seems outrageous to say now but I'm sure if I made the same statement back in the early 2000s about the likes of Expedition GeForce and Boulder Dash that would have seemed crazy too, but fast-forward twenty years and truly who is really talking about those coasters in the same way any more? Very few coasters make it to 'legendary' status - coasters like Nemesis and Millennium Force seem to have stood the test of time here and will always find a place in people's Top 10 lists for decades to come for the majority of coasters this simply isn't the case.

Coasters are popping up at an alarming rate all over the world, especially in China, and it almost seems like we barely have a chance to fangirl over our new favourite before something bigger and better comes along and takes its place in the spotlight. So today I wanted to take a break from talking about why Taron is so good and why Icon sucks and instead shine the spotlight on some incredible coasters that I personally feel are truly excellent, rated fresh on Rotten Tomatoes calibre coasters that for one reason or another just don't really get talked about in a way I feel is deserving. This is the top seven most underrated roller coasters in the world according to me!

Boardwalk Bullet is an absolute whippet of a wooden coaster which opened at Kemah Boardwalk in Texas in 2007. Manufactured by The Gravity Group, its claim to fame is that it is one of the most compact wooden coasters in the world, cramming 3236ft of track into just a 1acre footprint. Suffice to say it's pretty insane! The fact that it is so compact means it crosses over itself 42 times - you honestly could not guess the layout of this thing even if you were stood in front of it in board daylight and the mystery only adds to its character.

We rode this coaster in the dark and I remember seeing the ride entrance sign lit up and entering underneath it but think only of being completely engulfed by the compact mess of wooden track and supports from then on. The whole coaster is one insane, wild ride - especially in the dark! You have no way to know which way you're going to turn next and it's completely disorientating but savage and exhilarating too. In its opening year Boardwalk Bullet placed 21st in Mitch Hawker's wooden coaster poll and while the rest of the list was occupied by some truly great coaster, it just doesn't seem justified to me considering everybody I know who has ridden this coaster has nothing but praise for it. It's awesome trust me.

We all know I'm no huge Mack stan, but something about Lost Gravity at Walibi Holland intrigued me from the moment it was announced. From its bizarre theming and colour palette to the fact that it looks like what would happen if SkyRush and The Smiler had a baby, it certainly had my attention from the start purely for the weird factor. Whilst I'm not a huge fan of overly compact coasters full of sharp transitions and quick inversions, Lost Gravity somehow manages to deliver all of that without ever making me feel like my head is going to fall off or I'm going to black out. And the airtime! The whole coaster is littered with random bursts of sharp, intense ejector airtime - the whole thing is just hugely fun from start to finish and I've yet to had a ride on the thing that didn't end with a big smile on my face.

I first rode it in opening year back in 2016 and instantly fell in love after my first ride. I think if you read my old trip report here I gush on and on about how much I love the damn thing, I really was excited by it. But in the years that followed I didn't really hear the praise for the coaster that I'd expected - many even said it had become an uncomfortable and rattly experience which really disheartened me as I'd loved it so much on my first time round. I finally got back to the park last year for a reride and can confirm that I experienced nothing of the sort - coaster is still as wacky as ever and the only discomfort I felt was when it started raining.

There's a lot to be said about early 90s B&M inverts and Raptor at Cedar Point is no exception. When I queued up for this coaster the only thing I really knew about it was its crazy 90s colour scheme and the fact that it opened the same year as Nemesis. I don't know what was happening at the B&M factory in 1994 but truly it must have been something magical because Raptor is an absolutely extraordinary coaster and in my opinion on par with Nemesis in terms of the kind of ride experience it delivers.

I'm not sure why this coaster is so overshadowed when Nemesis is constantly talked about to this day almost 30 years later. I'm guessing it's a combination of it being at Cedar Point where it is surrounded by world-class roller coasters and the fact that Nemesis has a little more whimsy surrounding it with Alton Towers and the pit and the theme etc. But if you stripped that back and rode them side by side I truly believe you'd have a hard time identifying which coaster rides better. To put it bluntly, Raptor blew me away. That can happen when you expect nothing and are served a masterpiece but my mouth was agape as we pulled into the station after riding this. I simply could not fathom why this incredible feat of engineering with its interesting layout, perfect balance of forces which never allowed you to stray too close to nausea/uncomfortable intensity, the speed, THE COLOUR SCHEME!! All glorious and one of my biggest regrets from my visit to Cedar Point was not riding it more times.

Another coaster from last year's American road trip, Renegade is a GCI coaster operating at Valleyfair! which opened in 2007. I wrote a thing a while back about RMC and how if they're consistently all excellent then it flattens the curve slightly and makes them slightly obsolete and unexciting if we KNOW they're going to be fantastic and they consistently deliver upon it. I think the same could be said of GCI - looking at their list of operating coasters on RCDB and based on my own experiences of them I don't think there's a single coaster listed that the general enthusiast population would rate lower than 'great'. They truly know their art and consistently deliver excellent roller coaster experiences. I think between that curve flattening factor and the fact that people in general don't particularly talk about Valleyfair! means that Renegade can fade into the shadows a little.

But it really needn't! Again this is definitely a coaster I believe I enjoyed more because it hadn't been hyped to death but it truly was an excellent, fun wooden roller coaster. I found it to be VERY similar to Troy at Toverland, a coaster which is consistently hyped as one of the best in Europe (and for good reason) Renegade feels fast and relentless, it has that classic GCI vibration as you roar around the track and even a whippy little station fly by. If Renegade were in a park over here in the UK or indeed in Europe I believe it would be put up on a pedestal and praised as the best thing since sliced bread. Annoyingly that's the thing with coasters, it really is all relative and a large American theme park would feel naked without a big, mean wooden coaster in their line-up whereas over here they're something of a novelty.

Fluch von Novgorod opened at Hansa Park in Germany in 2009 and was one of the earliest Gerstlauer Eurofighter coasters, and indeed was the first Eurofighter to feature a launch. This is another coaster that I followed construction of from day dot and was drowned in hype - particularly from a group of us on CoasterForce who would be heading over on a European meet up to finally ride the thing together. The hype for that trip was absolutely insane and I remember Novgorod being a huge reason for it. Strangely when it was finally our time to ride the experience wasn't 100% complete - whilst the coaster was finished large parts of the theming were not yet installed which we worried might impact our enjoyment a little. WRONG. This coaster is EXCELLENT! Truly who would think that one of the best coaster launches in Europe is on a Gerstlauer Eurofighter? I believe it still has the fastest acceleration in Europe, followed by Stealth at Thorpe Park which should hopefully give you some idea of what a WHALLOP of a launch this coaster delivers.

But after that opening year in 2009 and outside of the walls of the CoasterForce forums, Fluch von Novgorod isn't a coaster one hears much of these days. I revisited the park in 2017 and at that point all of our attention was towards the intimidating tower that housed Karnan, and Novgorod was more of an 'oh yh, and that's here' kind of thing. Until I got back on it and all the memories of how amazing it was first time round came flooding back and the overwhelming joy of realising that it's still as fantastic a coaster as ever. Honestly I believe Fluch von Novgorod is one of the best roller coaster experiences in Europe, both in terms of theming and deliver a narrative as well as being an excellent coaster ride to boot.

Lightning Run at Kentucky Kingdom opened in 2014 and whilst I remember half following the construction of it back then, there didn't seem to be too much hype around it and honestly I haven't heard much about it since then. The coaster itself looks like something a maniac has scrawled on a napkin in crayons and Chance went, yh sure we can build that! It kind of rides that way too, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Something I love in a coaster, and something that's increasingly rare as you ride more and more of the things, is having no idea what to expect. Being the only Chance Hyper GT-X Coaster in the entire world and having never ridden it before nor heard too much about it, I hadn't a clue what was coming - I couldn't even deduce from looking at the layout what the experience might look like because the thing looks so alien and unique.

Lightning Run does not come to play, it comes to deliver airtime and deliver it hard. It does that weird thing where you don't feel like you're going too fast but then you're subjected to these insanely intense periods of hardcore, sustained ejector airtime. It's brutal, to tell you the truth but the sensation is so thrilling and fun you'll forgive the aching thighs as you run straight back around to ride it all over again. The best thing I could compare it to is actually another coaster in the same park - the RMC manufactured Storm Chaser. Or Untamed at Walibi Holland. Small but mean, I guess you could say. And honestly I don't know why more parks haven't invested in one of these coasters - I guess it truly is all in the reputation and whilst not a small company Chance aren't exactly a big player when it comes to the larger parks with deeper pockets. Which is a blessing and a curse really - a shame there aren't more of these coasters around for people to enjoy but also fantastic that Kentucky Kingdom have such a unique nugget of awesomeness they can call their own.

Fujiyama opened at Fuji Q Highland in 1996 as the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world - did you know that?! When I found that out I was shocked, mostly because the BIG record holders tend to be coasters we know well and hear a lot about, so the fact that this Japanese giant held two and it's not something I widely heard discussed was pretty shocking to me. There's this weird thing with Togo coasters - they operate a pretty famous coaster in the US you might've heard of: Big Apple Coaster at the New York, New York Hotel & Casino in Vegas and's trash. But because people have ridden that one coaster of their and had a bad experience there's this weird preconception that all Togo coasters are terrible which is simply not true. In actuality Big Apple is a big of an anomaly - all the other Togo coasters I've ridden rank from great to excellent with the exception of a kiddie coaster.

Fujiyama sits in the excellent category for me. The trains look like something out of a David Cronenberg film and the layout is completely unlike anything you'd picture when you say the words 'hyper coaster'. It's full of huge swooping turnarounds and double ups, wide turnarounds and finishing with strange, snaking bunny-hill style elements that deliver mad sideways airtime all the way back to the station. Granted I haven't been on this coaster in almost five years now but I still remember the entire experience and so clearly picture myself thinking why does nobody talk about this coaster?! It's fast, it's huge, it's smooth, its stacked full of airtime and perhaps most interestingly it's unlike anything else I've ever ridden, especially with those final elements.


I'm not saying we can't consistently gush about our favourites, but I do think it's a good idea to take a step back every now and then and think outside the box when we're talking about truly world class coasters. It can get a little repetitive having the same conversations about the same parks and coasters over and over again and personally I find it fun to think back on all the hidden gems I've ridden in the past and get on my soapbox about them from time to time! What about you - what do think is the most underrated coaster in the world? Are there any I've mentioned you disagree with? Leave me a comment, I'd love to chat with you!

Talk later xoxo,