What Are The Best Roller Coasters In The World?

Bit of a different one today and full credit goes to the Top 10 Roller Coasters topic over on CoasterForce for sparking this idea. Essentially the topic is usually just members sharing their top ten lists and updating with new entries every so often. But recently a conversation came up around how do we actually decide on our Top 10? What is the criteria, and more importantly how do you even begin to filter through the hundreds of coasters you rack up after years of doing this hobby to whittle down to a true best of list?

Two approaches struck me, which are what I wanted to spend a little time exploring today. The first was about filtering down my current list of 1089 ridden coasters to something a little more tangible to play with. The theory goes that an estimated 10% of your ridden coasters will actually be 'great' or 'coasters of note'. It also helps more clearly define your tastes and what type of coaster or manufacturer you prefer over others as highlighted by your quick fire shortlist.

So I began there. Quickly scrolling through my coaster count list, I marked coasters I thought fit that category, based on the following criteria:


- Do I have fond memories of this coaster?

- Does it have stand out elements?

- Does it have great or notable theming?

-  Did I run straight back round to ride this again after my first go?

- Does the idea of being able to ride this right now excite me?

And based on this approach, I whittled down a shortlist of 136 coasters, as follows:

Alpengeist, Alpina Blitz, Anubis: The Ride, Apocalypse the Ride, Apollo's Chariot, Balder, Bandit (Yomiuriland), Baron 1898, Behemoth, Big Thunder Mountain (Paris), Black Mamba, Boardwalk Bullet, Boss, Bullet Coaster, Colorado Adventure, Colossos, Cu Chulainn, Cyclops, Dark Knight, Diamondback, Dinoconda, Dodonpa, Dragon Challenge (Chinese Fireball), Dragon Challenge (Hungarian Horntail), Dragon Gliders, Dynamite, El Toro, Expedition Everest, Expedition GeForce, Extreme Rusher, Flight of Fear (Kings Island), Flight of Fear (Kings Dominion), Fluch von Novgorod, Flying Aces, Formula Rossa, Fujiayama, Furius Baco, Gaz Express, Goliath (Walibi Holland), Goliath (Six Flags Over Georgia), Goliath (Six Flags Great America), Griffon, Hades 360, Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, Hals-├╝ber-Kopf, Helix, Hollywood: Rip Ride Rockit, Huracan, Hyperion, Iron Rattler, Joker, Joris en de Draak , Jungle Trailblazer, K2, Karacho, Katun, Kawasemi, Krake, Kumba, Lech Coaster, Lightning Racer , Lightning Run, Lisebergbanan, Lost Gravity, Lynet, Magnum XL-200, Mako, Maverick, Megafobia, Mine Blower, Monster, Montu, Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast (Six Flags St. Louis), Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast (Six Flags Over Texas), Mystic Timbers, Nemesis , Nemesis Inferno, Oblivion, Oblivion - The Black Hole, Outlaw Run, OzIris, Parrot Coaster, Phantom's Revenge, Phoenix, Piraten, Poltergeist, Prowler, Psyke Underground, Pyrenees, Rage, Raptor (Cedar Point), Raptor (Gardaland), Red Force, Renegade, Revenge of the Mummy, Rita,Rock n Roller Coaster (Walt Disney Studios), Rock n Roller Coaster (Disney’s Hollywood Studios), Rutschebanen (Tivoli Gardens), Saw - The Ride, Schwur des Karnan, Shambhala, SheiKra, Shock, SkyRush, Smiler, Stealth, Steel Dragon 2000, Steel Vengeance, Steel Venom, Storm Chaser, Storm Runner, Superman the Ride (Six Flags New England), Surf Coaster Leviathan, Swarm, Takabisha, Taron, Tennessee Tornado, Thunderbolt, Thunderhead, Tonerre de Zeus, Top Thrill Dragster, TRON Lightcycle Power Run, Troy, Twister, Ultimate, Untamed, Vampire, Voyage, Wild Mouse (Blackpool Pleasure Beach), Wild Thing, Wildfire, Wodan Timbur Coaster, X2, Yukon Striker, Zadra

So before we get stuck into my actual Top 10 selection, some analysis. It's pie chart time!

The first thing I note is that I have quite a varied taste. Of that top 136 coasters you'll find 24 different manufacturers, from modern day behemoths like RMC to old-school wooden coaster builders like Frank Wright, there's coasters of all varieties to be found. This is something I'm quite proud of - I've never thought of myself as a particular fangirl of any manufacturer in particular and I think the chart showcases that. 

THAT SAID, there's obviously quite a clear leader in terms of what I like. B&M and Intamin each take a fair slice of the pie, and rightly so. There's a reason why these manufacturers are such household names among enthusiasts and it's because they're known the world over for their quality, so it's not surprising to me to see this. 

Things get a little more interesting once we dig a bit deeper. Firstly, Gerstlauer have 10 entries on the list. I know I'm partial to the odd Gerst and have been known to go out of my way to defend them but it's funny to me to see them beat out the likes of Mack and even Vekoma, a manufacturer for whom I've always had a soft spot. RMC come as no surprise, I've ridden 9 RMC coasters and 8 of them made the list - a testament to their quality if nothing else. And finally on this note, GCI are also a strong contender here - 9 out of a ridden 19 coasters made the final cut, giving them the second highest 'hit-rate' after RMC. I guess I can call myself a GCI fangirl!

When deep-diving into the pie-chart stuff it sparked another idea - how do my tastes hold up against the general consensus? There's been many an attempt at defining the 'best roller coasters in the world' over time, from Mitch Hawker to the Golden Ticket awards, and all of them give slightly varying results. For a more up to date approach I looked at two recent polls: CoasterBot's Vote Coasters and Coaster-Count's best in the world list. 

So taking a look at CoasterBot's list - out of the shortlisted Top 50 I've ridden 38, and of that 38, 32 made my final cut of 136, making that an 84% match. Things differentiate slightly more when it comes to Coaster-Count: of their Top 100 list (50 steel, 50 wood), I've ridden 69, and of that 69, 50 appear in my top 136, giving a 72% match. To split the difference here and get an average between the two lists, I make that a 78% match with the general consensus, or to put it more plainly for every four coasters that enthusiasts agree are 'best in the world', I will disagree with one of them. I think that's pretty accurate!

So then, how to filter 136 down to a final ten, and does my top 10 list align generally with the pie chart in terms of representing my tastes? I actually wrote a blog post fairly recently about my top ten roller coasters and it hasn't changed since so you can read that here for my thoughts of each coaster. For the purpose of this post I'll be focussing on how I decided on this list and comparing the list to the pie chart. 

My Top 10 Roller Coasters:

1. SkyRush

2. Taron

3. Steel Vengeance

4. Formula Rossa

5. The Voyage

6. Helix

7. Oz'Iris

8. Hyperion

9. Dinoconda

10. Maverick

The way I decide my list is pretty simple: is this coaster mind-blowing? Am I lost for words after riding as my veins are so pumped with adrenaline I can't think straight? Do I dream of riding this coaster and constantly plot and scheme for ways to get back to ride this coaster again. If the answer is yes, then on the list it goes. I will say that after 1000 coasters it takes a LOT to impress me, so rest assured those coasters listed are undoubtedly world class. 

Here's where it gets interesting, let's look at another pie chart:

The variety is still there which again I'm quite proud of. It's true I have quite an eclectic taste in coasters so always good to see that reaffirmed. What's interesting to me is that although RMC had an almost 100% hit rate for coasters on the list vs. coasters ridden, only one makes the top 10. Similarly with B&M, despite dominating the above pie chart, only one makes the cut for the Top 10 proper. And it doesn't take a genius to see where my heart truly lies: Intamin absolutely dominating with 50% of the list. 

What's cool to see here is that my taste emerges. All the coasters on the list have a somewhat chaotic quality. Four of them feature launches, nine of them feature layouts with tons of twists and turns and random pops of ejector airtime. Only one is inverted. Strangely, despite my love of theming and narrative, only two on the list feature any meaningful attempt at theming. This anomaly aside, I would say this snapshot of the ten best roller coasters in the world as according to me is a very clear dissection of what I look for in a coaster, what elements I favour (speed, ejector airtime, chaos) and which I don't particularly care for (floater airtime, traditional layouts).

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So there we go. Whilst I would very much argue there's no real science to making a Top 10 list and it's all subjective to your personal preferences, it's certainly a fun activity to kill a few hours - especially if you enjoy nerding out a little with lists and graphs! 

I hope you've enjoyed this geeky deep-dive into what I personally consider to be the best coasters in the world. Do you keep a top ten list? How do you decide what makes the cut? Let me know down in the comments, I'd love to have a chat!

Talk later xoxo,

2 comments

  1. How do you make a top 10 is a very good question? It's personal for the one it can be a badass coaster and for the other one it can be the dullest ride ever. For me it's all about fun, speed, airtime... and my top 10 changes regularly, coasters get defunct or demolished. Wild Mouse in Blackpool was for ages high in my top 10...

    Here is my current top 10:
    1. Fury 325
    2. Intimidator 305
    3. The Voyage
    4. Lightning Rod
    5. Superman Ride of Steel (SFNE)
    6. Nemesis
    7. Helix
    8. Phoenix
    9. Beast (before he became a kitten!)
    10. Diamondback

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    1. Respect for having Wild Mouse on there for so long, it was an excellent coaster! Also thanks for sharing your list :)

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