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November 15, 2006

What is a Hyper Coaster?

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Written by: The Coaster Critic
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Superman Ride of Steel - Hypercoasters - Six Flags New EnglandBack in 1989, Cedar Point opened Magnum XL-200. It was the tallest coaster in the world at 205′. More important than setting a new height record, it started a whole new trend in coaster design. Up to that point steel coasters were solely looping coasters. The oneupmanship between parks was to build the coaster with the most loops. Magnum had no loops, just enormous hills and drops that offered surprising pops of airtime at the crests.

The popularity of Magnum XL-200 kicked off a revolution in the theme park industry. What was known as the ‘Coaster Arms Race’ began as parks aimed to build the tallest coaster in the world in this similar style to Magnum’s. The term hyper coaster was coined to refer to roller coasters 200 feet or taller. Last month, I listed my Top 3 Hyper Coasters.

Giga Coasters and Strata Coasters
Later, the term giga coaster was used to describe coasters 300 feet or taller, though these are rare. Millennium Force at Cedar Point is an example of a giga coaster. And in the past couple years, the term strata coaster has been applied to roller coasters 400 feet or taller. Currently, Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point and Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure are the only strata coasters. They’re both built by Intamin.

What’s Your Take?
Got a suggestion for Coasterology 101? Leave a comment below.

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About the Author

The Coaster Critic
I'm a native of Virginia and I got my first taste of roller coasters at Kings Dominion. A few years ago I merged my interests for writing and roller coasters by creating this blog. Read more on the About Page.


  1. Anonymous

    If you want to get technical, Sky Streak at Bob-lo Island is the first non-looping adult steel coaster.

    Coaster Trivia- It is also the only coaster that was built by Sansei in North America.

  2. Matthew

    yep exactly. What if the roller coaster is less than 200 ft. and has flips, but is not inverted. What is that called

  3. Anonymous

    A coaster with loops, if understand you. ;)

  4. Matthew

    Well i didnt know if it had a certain name thats all im saying

  5. JaMeS

    well, here’s a name for it. ” The awesome, looping, non floorless or inverted steel coaster 199 feet 11 inches or less coaster”

  6. Matthew, B&M calls coasters like Kumba @ Busch Gardens Tampa and Wildfire at Silver Dollar City ‘Sitting Coasters’. I’ve also heard the term seated looping coasters. I just refer to them as looping coasters, but probably won’t give them a Coasterology post because I think most people get what they are. It’s a fair question.

  7. Matthew

    Thanks coaster critic, well all these coasters had a name and i didnt know what the looping ones under 199 ft were. Thanks for the response!

  8. Austin

    I’ve been trying to get this question answered for quite some time, and I hope someone can help me out with it: How do the lap bars on B&M hypers (such as Nitro or SFOG’s Goliath)function to keep people safe without needing a secondary restraint like a seatbelt? Like, wouldn’t you need some extra protection just in case it malfunctioned?

    • While I’m not sure how they do it, I’m quite confident they have fallbacks in place.
      On Silver Star, in Europapark Germany, they don’t even have anyone to come and check the restraints, they trust you to secure yourself. Result: the best capacity possible. It’s fantastic :)

  9. Excellent question Austin. And you asked it at the perfect time. I’ll be going to Busch Gardens this Friday and I’m going on their new Coaster Tour. I’ll be sure to ask about the restraint systems especially the lap bar on Apollo’s Chariot. I don’t think it’s a part of the tour, but I would imagine the engineering team there will know. I’ll report back when I return.

  10. Schwarz

    Make sure you take some pictures of the tour to post!

  11. Quil

    the best hyper is definitley Bizzaro.

  12. JaMeS

    no way! its deffinitley Apollo Chariot! and ive been on both

  13. Quil

    Nothing will EVER beat Bizzaro.

    • Quil

      anyways JaMeS, you said it was better on the bizzaro post.

      • Matt

        Nitro is better than apollo and bizarro. :) And I think apollo is better than bizarro. (trains are way better on nitro and apollo compared to bizarro). In Bizarro’s trains, there is nothing to hold on to, theres not enough room for your feet, and my legs would push up against the lap bar forcefully and hurt. B&M hyper trains are the best in the world. Now in layout, Bizarro beats apollo, and maybe Nitro. If Bizarro had a better train, it would be my favorite. But Nitro and Millennium Force are my two favorites.

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