Steel Vengeance

It is no secret that Rocky Mountain Construction has come to be one of the top coaster manufacturers in the world. They are well known for their wooden to hybrid coaster conversions and their impeccable ability to turn run-down wooden coasters into remarkable hybrid triumphs.

From New Texas Giant to Wildcat’s Revenge, we have seen some incredible hybrid coasters come from formerly dull, worn, and even painful wooden coasters. Perhaps, the most extraordinary conversion by RMC though has been that of Mean Streak into Steel Vengeance.

A Shaky History

Mean Streak
Image: Andrew Borgen, Flickr (License)

Mean Streak opened at Cedar Point in 1991 and cost 7.5 million dollars. It was a behemoth of a wooden coaster. It took up a large portion of Frontier Town in the back of the park. Mean Streak was manufactured by Dinn Corporation which was founded by two men who were crucial to the construction of the Beast at Kings Island. Sadly, of the nearly one dozen coasters manufactured by Dinn Corporation, over half are now defunct, including Texas Giant and Georgia Cyclone, which also received the RMC treatment.

Mean Streak was record-breaking at its time of opening. It held the record for the tallest wooden coaster and the longest drop for a wooden coaster. The coaster twisted through over 5,000 feet of track and reached speeds of 65 miles per hour. The ride was over 3 minutes long and featured a 155-foot drop. It wasn’t long before trim breaks were added to reduce wear and increase comfort.

Mean Streak
Image: Patrick McGarvey, Flickr (License)

Additionally,  the wooden coaster was re-tracked almost annually and had its own carpentry team. However, the ride was known to be rough, and some even considered it boring due to the trim breaks. In all honesty, it is the most painful coaster I have ever ridden, and over several trips to Cedar Point, we would skip it every time. However, not everyone hated this coaster. There was a guest nicknamed Mean Streak Henry who rode the coaster over 16,000 times over its 25-year run. Mean Streak closed in 2016.

Breaking a Mean Streak

Steel Vengeance
Image: Cedar Point

It was announced in August of 2017 (after teasing “They’re Coming”) that Mean Streak would be converted into a mammoth steel/wooden hybrid. Steel Vengeance had a fresh new backstory as well. Outlaws Black Jack, Chess, and Digger were seeking to reclaim what Maverick as taken with the creation of a new hyper-hybrid.

Steel Vengeance is RMCs first hyper-hybrid and served as Cedar Point’s third hybrid coaster (after Gemini and Cedar Creek Mine Ride). It also broke several records at its time of opening in 2018 including bringing the tallest, fastest, and steepest hybrid. It also currently holds the world record for most airtime on any roller coaster at 27.2 seconds.

Steel Vengeance accomplished what Mean Streak never could. It offers a long and wild ride while maintaining the comfort of a steel coaster. Riders first are sent down a 205-foot-tall drop at 90 degrees. Over 5,740 feet of track, riders will experience four inversions, airtime hills, and counter-intuitive banked turns that will have you second-guessing which direction you are heading in. The coaster is also the longest hybrid roller coaster in the world and clocks in at two and a half minutes.

Cedar Point and Rocky Mountain Construction arguably took one of the most hated wooden coasters and turned it into what many consider to be the best roller coaster in the United States, or even the world. But, is that throne being threatened?

A New Hybrid In Town

Iron Gwazi
Image: Busch Gardens

Last year we saw the opening of a new hyper-hybrid coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa. This coaster, Iron Gwazi, broke Steel Vengeance's record for tallest and steepest hybrid by a mere 1 foot and 1 degree. It also reaches speeds 2 mph faster than Steel Vengeance.

After Iron Gwazi opened, many coaster enthusiasts began to speculate whether it would de-throne Steel Vengeance as the best of the best. While Steel Vengeance is longer and is the king of airtime, Iron Gwazi features a shorter but more intense ride experience. As a rider, if you are a fan of long rides with lots of airtime, you're probably going to side with Steel Vengeance. However, those that prefer intensity will likely choose Iron Gwazi to rein supreme.

Whether or not Steel Vengeance is still considered the best roller coaster in the United States, there is no denying that it is a masterpiece of wood and steel. RMC continues to provide us with some of the best roller coasters by recycling the worn-out and forgotten wooden coasters of the past. While Mean Streak could never get on that winning streak, Steel Vengeance proves that with a little RMC TLC these coasters can live on and delight many more riders for years to come.

Have you ridden each of these hyper-hybrids? Which one comes out on top of your list? Let us know in a comment below or on our Facebook page.


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