30 Jun, 16

B&M

 Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M)

Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) was started in 1988 by ex-Intamin employees Walter Bolliger and Claude Mabillard.

B&M track is noticeable for it's large square spine (known as "box section") and two rails on either side, attached to the track by the inside as to allow for the coasters to run with their wheels on the outer parts of the rail (necessary for a smoother ride). Track for the American coasters are constructed by a B&M plant in Southern Ohio, USA, and track for European rides are constructed in Switzerland by G-Tec, formerly Giovanola.

Some of B&M's coasters tend to have a short "pre-drop" after the lift hill unlike other coasters. B&M have built approximately 90 rollercoasters.

 B&M's first coaster

Bolliger & Mabillard's first coaster - Iron Wolf- was built in Six Flag Great America in 1990. It was of the Stand-Up type, and featured two inversions with a twisted and compact layout.

 B&M's product range 

SITTING COASTER

A B&M Sitting Coaster is a B&M roller coaster under 200 ft / 61 mtrs high. The Sitting Coaster model features many inversions and is known for being quite forceful. B&M makes two similar coaster models, stand-up and floorless coasters (see below), but what differenciates this type from those is that passengers sit down and have a floor under their feet.

Operating examples
Wildfire at Silver Dollar City, USA.
Kumba at Busch Gardens Tampa, USA.

See also: Multi-Looping Coasters


INVERTED COASTER

Bolliger & Mabillard revolutionised intense rollercoaster thrills when they created their Inverted model in 1992. The trains are suspended below the track and are floorless so riders legs are dangling. There are 30 B&M Inverted Coasters in the world and the vast majority were built in the mid-90's when they were all the rage. This ride type usually has inversions. Although most B&M Inverted Coasters are custom, there is a standard model called "Batman" named after the first one of it's kind at Six Flags Great America, USA.

Operating examples
Nemesis Inferno at Thorpe Park, UK.
Raptor at Cedar Point, USA.

See also: Inverted Coasters.


FLYING COASTER

In 2002, the first B&M Flying Coaster, Air, opened at Alton Towers, UK. Riders sit in specially designed seats that tip riders backwards 90° so they are facing the floor in a "Superman position". The seats have large, comfortable restraints that secure riders legs and body. These coasters tend to have swooping drops and helices to create the illusion of flight. There are less than 10 B&M Flying coasters in operation, half of which can be found in the USA.

Operating examples
Superman: Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Great America.
Air at Alton Towers, UK.

See also: Flying Coasters.


STAND-UP COASTER

Bolliger & Mabillard were already familiar with the Stand-Up Coaster model because they created several whilst working for Giovanola. In 1990, they produced their own version, Iron Wolf at Six Flags, Great America (the coaster features in the Richie Rich film and has since been relocated to Six Flags America as Apocalypse!). Riders stand throughout by perching an a small bicycle type seat and are held in by over-the-shoulder restraints.

Operating examples:
Mantis at Cedar Point, USA.
Georgia Scorcher at Six Flags Over Georgia, USA.

See also: Standup Coasters.


FLOORLESS COASTER

B&M invented the Floorless Coaster type and opened their first one, Bizarro at Six Flags Great Adventure, in April 1999. As the name suggests, the train has no floor. Riders sit on a seat that is similar to the B&M Inverted coater type but is fixed to a central spine at the bottom of the train. The station has a retractable floor so riders and get on and off the train. There are 12 B&M Floorless Coasters in operation. 

Operating examples
Hydra the Revenge at Dorney Park, USA.
Dæmonen at Tivoli Gardens, Denmark.

See also: Floorless Coasters.


DIVE COASTER

Otherwise known as a "Dive Machine", this coaster type features a vertical drop. the first of it's kind was Oblivion at Alton Towers which opened in 1998. Oblivion's drop is 87° whereas the newer Dive Coasters built in the late-2000's have 90° drops. The trains can be held at the the top of the drop so riders have a brief moment to admire the view. The trains are wider than normal trains so the track is larger to accommodate them. Some Dive Coaster trains are now floorless and feature splashdowns where water sprays up behind the trains as they pass over water.

Operating examples
Oblivion at Alton Towers, UK.
Krake at Heide-Park Soltau, Germany.

See also: Diving Coasters.


 

WING COASTER

Bolliger & Mabillard's latest coaster design is The Wing Coaster (sometimes known as a "Wing Rider"). Instead of sitting above or below the track, the riders sit beside the track on "wings". This creates a very exposed ride experience and adds intensity when passing close to the ground or scenery. The first B&M Wing Coaster was Raptor which opened at Gardaland, Italy, in 2011.

 

Operating examples
The Swarm at Thorpe Park, UK.
Wild Eagle at Dollywood, USA.

See also: Wing Coasters.


HYPER COASTER

A B&M Hyper Coaster is a rollercoaster with a drop over 200 ft / 61 mtrs tall. They are Sitting Coasters without inversions. The thrill is in the big drops and airtime hills. The trains have "clam shell" lap bar style restraints that pin the rider in around his/her waist. Some newer Hyper Coaster trains have a staggered seating arrangement so every rider is exposed to the rush of air down the drops. More than ten B&M Hyper Coaster have been built since the first one - Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, USA - debuted in 1999.

Operating examples
Shambhala at PortAventura, Spain.
Hollywood Dream: The Ride at Universal Studios Japan.

See also: Hyper Coasters, Restraints.


LAUNCH COASTER

Bolliger & Mabillard do not produce Launch Coasters as a rule and is not part of their portfolio. They produced a one off launch coaster in 1999 - The Incredible Hulk at Islands of Adventure, USA. The train is launched 0 to 40 mph / 64 kph in 2 seconds out of the station using a tire propulsion system. B&M officially class this coaster as a Sitting Coaster.

See also: Launch Coasters.



 Other information

 B&M are often mistaken for inventing the Wing Coaster and Stand-Up coaster; they were created by Intamin and TOGO respectively. To confuse matters even more, some of the old Intamin/Giovanola track coasters (like Shockwave at Drayton Manor, UK, for example) resemble B&M's track.

 B&M Contact Details

Bolliger & Mabillard Inc.
Chemin des Dailles 31
CH-1870 Monthey
Switzerland

Tel: +41 244 721 580

http://www.bolliger-mabillard.com


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