The Smiler

Roller coasters are constantly evolving, with manufacturers looking to push the boundaries on what is technically possible. Theme parks also push their suppliers to achieve "world first" feats - breaking new boundaries on height, length and speed.

One coveted world record is that of "most inversions on a roller coaster". This has changed hands several times over the years, most recently in 2013. Let's take a look at the 5 "loopiest" roller coasters on the planet.

=3. Colossus (Thorpe Park, UK)


Number of inversions: 10

Colossus was the first major roller coaster to be installed at Thorpe Park, and was once the holder of the world record for the largest number of inversions on a coaster. Housed in the Lost City area of the park, the Intamin-built Colossus packs a vertical loop, a cobra roll, two corkscrews and five heartline twists into its circuit. In order to achieve its record-breaking status, the heartline twists are packed into a single section at the end of the ride.

The ride’s queue line weaves in and out of the coaster’s circuit, enabling waiting riders to get a close-up view of it in action. Some basic theming elements, along with a distinctive theme tune, are designed to evoke a long-lost Atlantean civilisation.

=3. 10 Inversion Roller Coaster (Chime-Long Paradise, China)

10 Inversion Roller Coaster

Image: Jeremy Thompson, Wikipedia

Number of inversions: 10

The aptly-named 10 Inversion Roller Coaster was the first of a number of clones of Colossus to be installed at theme parks around the world (two more are currently under construction). It features exactly the same layout, and - of course - is also manufactured by Intamin.

=3. Crazy Coaster (Locajoy Holiday, China)

Number of inversions: 10

No prizes for guessing that Crazy Coaster is yet another clone of Colossus, and opened in 2013. At least its owners opted for a slightly more inventive name this time around.

2. Journey to the Stars (Jinling Happy World, China)

Number of inversions: 11

Unlike the Intamin creations at the other two Chinese parks in this list, Journey to the Stars is a homegrown creation having been manufactured by Hebei Zhongye Metallurgical Equipment Manufacturing Co., Ltd. The firm is famous for producing knock-offs of rides from other manufacturers, so expect this one to look similar to Intamin's rides.

It does up the ante, though, by adding an additional inversion, and was all set to hold the world until its opening date was delayed into 2014 from the originally-targeted 2012.

1. The Smiler (Alton Towers, UK)

The Smiler

Number of inversions: 14

Alton Towers' new roller coaster for 2013 was the most expensive attraction ever installed by the park, with its £18 million budget topping the £15 million spent on installing Thirteen in 2010. Located in the futuristically-themed X-Sector area, it packs a ridiculous 14 inversions into a relatively compact circuit. There's no coming up for air here, folks.

The Smiler's rushed construction schedule and unique design may have contributed to the many technical problems that it faced during 2013. Here's hoping that Alton Towers has ironed out the bugs in this record-shattering machine in time for the 2014 season.



i was there when the track had issues and later when the part came off the track needs triple checking and the queuing area under the ride is stupid it floods and is an obvious danger spot if they simply moved it it should sort that. its unnerving having the ride roaring over your head the whole time your queuing and the safety net obviously doesn't work. great ride just hope they have learned a thing or two from rushing the ride to be opened in the first place. for future note anyone who goes to alton towers and experiences issues if you go to guest services BEFORE LEAVING ITS LOCATED NEAR THE MAIN ENTRANCE TICKETS CAN BE REVALIDATED AND SAVE YOU £46.50 for another visit. they write on your old tickets which you take to the pre paid ticket collection point on your next visit. as you can guess this is not publicised so take heed and keep riding :-)

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