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 Review of Pippen/Thunderbolt @ Kennywood
2 Rating Posted by: BobFunland on 8/27/2007 7:02:00 PM
A fun woodie, but not what Id call a great one. I liked the unique design, other than Jack Rabbit across the park, I cant think of anything close to the Thunderbolt. Going up to the lift brought one of the biggest surprises I have ever gotten on a roller coaster. The airtime was pretty good and the ride is lateral-heavy, but neither is among the best. I certainly enjoyed the ride, but didnt feel inclined to ride more than once. Loved the terrain and the views (even if its ugly-ass southwest PA) but the ride wasnt a big deal to me. The second best coaster in the park is merely in the middle of the pack as far as wood coasters go.

Review Comments

hrrytraver on 8/28/2007 7:48:48 AM said:
i dreaded opening this review from the homepage, as i knew what it would contain - a tepid pot of water, far too cool for tea, to warm to be refreshing. a "meh" review, in other words.

fair enough though, b-fun, fair enough. perhaps the only hint of unfairness comes in with that blast on the pittsburgh landscape. using taoist techniques for altering perspectives on beauty, ive found greater pittsburgh to be quite aesthetically appealing over the years. those shabby PA-style homes like mushrooms all over the hills and the low buzzing factories along the rivers have more warmth and charm for me than tract homes and enormous parking lots fronting best buys and home depots.

but alas, this is not my podium...on with the comments!...

ginzo on 8/28/2007 10:23:15 AM said:
BFL: did you ride in the back seat? In my experience Thunderbolt delivers terrifying drops in the back, but is milder elsewhere.

hrry: having grown up in an urban area I share some of your sentiments. Pittsburgh might take it a bit far on the being run down tip though. But youll never see me locked into a mortgage on a McMansion. Ive rather live in a McBox.
sowinski on 8/28/2007 10:32:00 AM said:
I felt exactly the same as you about this coaster. It is an interesting little wooden coaster that works well with the terrain. It does not wow you in any one area, but it is solid in all areas. I always enjoy the river view from this coaster.
BobFunland on 8/28/2007 3:34:24 PM said:
Im sorry, Ive been to Pittsburgh more than I care to admit, and the city seems well past its glory days and honestly, its kinda depressing. Ive always said its in my top (or is it bottom?) five for crappiest cities, joining the ranks of such cities as Detroit and Cleveland. As much as I love the topography, what they do on top of it makes me yearn for Jersey. oh yeah, as for the important stuff... the ride... I rode somewhere in the middle. I know its best to try to ride in the back at least once, but basically I just hopped in and went. Ill aim for the back next time.
ginzo on 8/28/2007 5:26:28 PM said:
Try the very back, and keep your hands up in the drop out of the station. You should get a bit of that sensation of being chucked from the train.
bumprnugit on 8/29/2007 4:46:09 PM said:
BFL, you really should have given yourself the op to ride this more than once. My review started out pretty similar to yours, but it was the re-rides (and especially the night rides) that pushed my score way up. In retrospect, a 10 might be a bit generous, but Ill stand by it.
ginzo on 8/29/2007 5:10:06 PM said:
I got a few 10 level rides on Thunderbolt. Intense drops and crazy lateral forces on a well maintained older ride with a lot of character in a great setting in an outstanding park. Yeah, I think 10 is about right for me.
BobFunland on 8/29/2007 11:19:04 PM said:
We were there on what I was told later was Kennywoods busiest day of the year. Ironic since I was at sister park Lake Compounces busiest day ever a few years back. I could have stuck around and done more, but we didnt get the park "done" (which, looking at my ride tracker, we still didnt truely accomplish) until about 6pm and I still had to drive to Cincy that evening amidst a mess of traffic congestion resulting from a Steelers game and construction (this is PA, afterall). I dont really regret my decision knowing that eventually I will be back (though how it took me 21 years to get there in the first place is beyond me) and if I get better or worse rides on Thunderbolt, then my score will be adjusted accordingly.
coaster05 on 8/30/2007 5:47:40 PM said:
To be honest BFL that seems about right. I have rode back and it is a touch better, but still just a slightly above average woodie.
tauren_man on 9/3/2007 8:38:07 PM said:
You have to go to the right places in Pittsburgh, pal. Downtown is a bit crappy, Ill admit, but some places, like Mt. Lebanon, are just beautiful. ON TOPIC: Pretty much took the words right out of my mouth, I think this ones a bit over-rated, but still fun. Like its not "The King of the Coasters" or whatever award it got in the 70s when 50 mph was considered fast.
BobFunland on 9/4/2007 7:34:05 PM said:
Well, pal, Ive been to the burgh a lot. There ARE nice places - for instance, I have family in Upper St. Claire, and thats nice, but I expect that sort of area to be nice. The rest of the city, IMO, isnt. Yeah, there can be some fun times in the strip district or on Carson, and I really dig Seven Springs, but once I go outside of those areas I just feel its ugly, depressing and overall just not my style.
fergusonat on 9/4/2007 10:39:34 PM said:
100% of Pittsburgh is beautiful...period That place is awesome. Solid review, Joe, although I wish you would have enjoyed the T-bolt more. Its a damn shame you couldnt have given it more than one spin. This ride is all about the re-rides. You cant possibly get in touch with the rides character on just one ride
Timberman on 9/4/2007 11:04:39 PM said:
I would love to hear B-Fun singing T-Bolt'.s praises, but this ride in particular seems to evoke substantially varied reactions among experienced coaster heads. I don'.t agree with the final analysis here, but I can'.t say this is an unfair review. As for the ".beauty". of Pittsburgh, it'.s all in the eye of the beholder. I remember riding Phantom'.s Revenge after dark in a steady drizzle, with the steel plant below Kennywood lit up and giving off a weird yellow-green glow. Those were some of the best roller coaster rides of my life, all the more so for the atmosphere that scene provided. Movie lovers visiting the Pittsburgh area should also make a point of stopping by the Monroeville Mall, scene of the George Romero classic, ".Dawn of the Dead". (which, like the T-Bolt, has evoked a range of critical reaction). Some of the old hands are still around from those days and will give you a tour of the movie'.s locations if you let them know you'.re coming.
bumprnugit on 9/8/2007 1:55:48 AM said:
To digress a bit from the review itself BFL, you gave a hard knock to Cleveland. I dont think its that bad; in fact drinking at the Flats can be a life-changing experience (last time I was there the cops fished a body out of the Cuyahoga.) But again, I have sentimental feelings for citys along the Great Lakes (especially Buffalo.)
ginzo on 9/8/2007 7:54:17 AM said:
Cleveland recently had the distinction of being Americas Poorest City. I think its in 4th place right now. That kinda tells you where theyre at.
detroit_jc on 10/10/2007 6:48:17 PM said:
cmon there Bob, & people... no real need to put down any cities...
alot of people that are interested in your writings might be from one of those cities like myself. i have no bone to pick personally, & i agree there are "crappy" places in Detroit, but i am proud of where im from & no matter where you go anywhere will be a "crappy" place somewhere. i just wanted to read about the thunderbolt...& talk coasters
lets keep it at that....
.....where is the high lateral area on this ride that requires smaller people on the outside of the turn?
ginzo on 10/10/2007 7:12:30 PM said:
The unbanked "helix" is right after the lift hills drop. You turn to the right and head into this crazy section. Modern coaster design prohibits anything like this, but its so much fun. It feels like your ribs are going to shatter as youre pressed against the side. Please bear in mind that you only reach the lift hill after you drop out of the station, cross the ravine, turn around, and then cross the ravine again.
BobFunland on 10/10/2007 10:24:16 PM said:
^^ hey, I have a ton of family in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. I hate those places but that doesnt mean that everyone does and nor am I trying to make it personal. No big deal.
coaster05 on 10/11/2007 6:39:39 PM said:
I have to say I was so uninterested in this coaster I actually skipped it at fright nights.
bumprnugit on 6/29/2008 9:59:44 PM said:
c5 /\ , did you have an chance to ride T'bolt since your 2004 review? Or did apathy keep you away? I am not trying to defend my score, but I have been "scorned" for mentioning that I would not ride a new coaster for reasons of apathy and to not pad my "coaster count". Hey, if this ride didn't do it for you, that's fine with me. Time is precious and it's best to focus on what you feel is most relevant at that time; I would rather not waste it on a trivial ride such as "Batman-Dark Knight" just to say "I rode dat!" and spend it on rides that get my heart-rate going. Screw coaster-counts. This borders on Star Trek nerd-dom. Chase tail instead.
Timberman on 6/29/2008 11:24:35 PM said:
"Screw coaster-counts. This borders on Star Trek nerd-dom. Chase tail instead."

That's deep, man.

hrrytraver on 6/30/2008 2:22:44 PM said:
^seems to outline a classic dichotomy. can't say i understand coaster counting either, but i know the opposite looks trekkie to the omnivores.
fergusonat on 6/30/2008 4:52:40 PM said:

Ugh, my beloved T-bolt takes another blow in the ratings-category. You only rode it once...? In the middle...?
BobFunland on 6/30/2008 7:41:26 PM said:
Yeah, I didn't have a choice - I took the last seat available on the train. I'd ride again, but not sitting in a 30 minute line.
taylorb251 on 6/30/2008 8:39:57 PM said:
Coaster is over seas, try asking him again in about a week.
fergusonat on 7/1/2008 8:48:32 AM said:
Argh! Only one ride! Argh! I've personally found that to truly come to understand a work of wooden genius, you need to invest a solid number of rides in multiple rows. Thunderbolt's character is just too rich to capture it in one ride, especially when you're pretty much forced into a particular row on an oppressively busy day at Kennywood. Joe, you need to get back out to the Burgh and spend some quality time with the T-bolt
BobFunland on 7/1/2008 9:43:39 AM said:
I do plan to go back and would love to ride again - but the ride didn't wow me at all. I don't think a ride that has to grow on me is a top ride. It is very well capable of moving up, but I don't see it, say, cracking my top 10. Those rides up there all wow'd me instantly and kept up that thrill through the re-rides. I really want to believe its a better ride than my impressions have me thinking, and it will get its opportunity to redeem itself another time. Thats for sure since Kennywood is a great park
fergusonat on 7/1/2008 8:43:01 PM said:
Fair enough haha You weren't impressed at all by the fiendish lateral-g's after the lift-hill drop?
PhantomNik on 7/2/2008 12:20:13 PM said:
I have to say, even though I've recently been on some wooden coasters that were amazing (i.e. Phoenix, El Toro, and Voyage), T-Bolt still places solidly in my Top 5 wood. I dunno, perhaps it has endeared itself to me since I grew up riding it. I just love the uniqueness of the layout, and as ferg pointed out above me, that "spaghetti bowl" section after the lift drop is just awesome! Not to mention the fact that it saves its biggest drop for last - I love that. I would agree that the more you ride it, the better it gets. I've been riding T-Bolt some 20 years now and it just never gets old to me. In fact, it has only gotten better the more I've gotten into coasters. Joe, it will certainly be interesting to hear what you think if you get a chance for some rerides. Incidentally though, I thought your review was good (as per your usual!)
coasterf42 on 7/2/2008 3:30:15 PM said:
I liked the laterals-they were comfortable, yet strong and well sustained. But I am in the same boat that this is an above-average wooden, and not a world class ride. I only got one great pop of airtime, and a ride needs more than that for me to love it.
bumprnugit on 7/2/2008 11:47:12 PM said:
fergusonat- post #26 hits the nail right on the head. In my review of T-bolt I pretty much state the same thing. This is a ride that you really have to experience throughout the course of the day as the dynamics of the
T-bolt just better with each ride. And night rides are a blast.
fergusonat on 7/3/2008 12:30:06 AM said:
Night rides are epic, indeed. Forgot to mention that. The ride comes alive after the sun sets. That ravine is pitch-black
coaster05 on 7/23/2008 6:41:35 PM said:
I'.ve rode T-bolt three more times since then and all I can say is i don'.t like it any better or any worse then before. I have rode morning, afternoon and night, front, back and middle. I love KW and love the rides there, but this just does not do it for me.
fergusonat on 7/24/2008 9:15:29 AM said:
ginzo on 7/25/2008 9:30:50 PM said:
I loved T-Bolt when I rode it last year, but this year it seemed rougher/crappier. It wasn'.t bad or anything, but I didn'.t think as highly of it this year. I only got one cycle on it this year though.
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