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Parks are not going to be willing to spend 20+ million on attractions coming out of the pandemic.  Even Cedar Fair b&m's largest US client is saying they will invest in experiences and smaller scale attractions.  Gerstlauer, Vekoma, RMC, and even Intamin have budget coasters that beats the socks off on a 20+ million b&m.  Kondda at walibi belgium cost under 16million USD, that is remarkable.  A vekoma Bermuda blitz like Lech Coaster costs under 10 million usd.  

The only comparable costs b&m is a junior dive coaster and they are short rides but probably better than their counterparts like valravyn/Yukon striker.

I see a lot of Gerstaluer infinity, RMC raptors, Intamin hyper & hot racers coming to parks around us sooner than later.

 

Thoughts?

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"B&M is too expensive..." ...so let's buy Intamin to appease some ACERs and spend infinitely more on maintaining it the next ten years while getting less in return?

The thing I don't understand is why the people who don't care for B&M are so hell bent on it that they want to see them out of business.  And its not a select few of them either.  Almost every per

Probably because you were up-selling your book 

In all honesty though I understand what you're getting at but I don't think they're coming to an end. They're certainly not the manufacturer you want to go to when you're on a budget. I do think parks might go for more affordable companies like Vekoma, Gerstlauer, etc coming out of this pandemic. I wouldn't be surprised if Cedar Fair started installing more 4d freespins and maybe even sky rockets.

I expect it'll be slow for B&M these next few years coming out of the pandemic but I don't think they're doomed. I'm sure there will be parks in Europe who will want their own Fury type coaster. Who knows, maybe this pandemic will encourage B&M to make new designs that are more affordable for smaller parks. They don't have a single coaster that features 2 across seating with exception to their family coaster and Steel Dragon's new trains.

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Bolliger & Mabillard is a consulting engineering company, they really don't "manufacture" anything they put out per-se.  They have made a successful business by finding reliable manufacturing and putting out consistent and reliable product.  Currently their entire design portfolio is with steel coasters, most of which are variants on a common track design.  A huge chunk of their cost is in the steel for these massive coasters.  While they have made some great accomplishments (120 coasters and counting), I do wonder if they need to start thinking outside the box.  Other companies have a much better portfolio. 

Also, we have now seen the design life of weathered steel coasters (those in buildings may be a bit different), with woodies outlasting or able to be revived for a longer service life.  I am very curious how parks will be spending their money in the next couple of years.

A consulting company could ride out a dry spell better than other companies with more significant costs, but that assumes they are still designing something people want to buy in the future.

 

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19 minutes ago, coaster sally said:

They can't even innovate enough to have lap bars on looping coasters like all the other manufacturers.  The best they got are those dreaded vests, didn't vekoma beat them to the punch with those?

They probably don't see a need to innovative. They've manufactured so many coasters using the same restraints, track type, etc that they've pretty much perfected their own design. "If it ain't broke don't fix it." 

Why spend thousands of dollars in R&D when people are already spending millions of dollars on your current products? The smallest risk with the biggest reward for B&M is altering train designs on the same styled track.

Companies like Intamin have built their legacy on innovation and ride diversity because that's what made them unique. Unfortunately this can have draw backs like ride malfunctions leading to downtime and high operating costs. B&M's might be considered formulaic, repetitive, and unoriginal but that's also what's made them successful. Their rides are reliable and have an overall good ROI. Enthusiasts might not like them but B&M has a tried and true business plan.

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As a company B&M is likely fine.  Most of their sales have moved to parks in China, which is seeing less effects from the pandemic then other countries.  They only need a handful of ride sales a year, 3 or 4 is a typical year for the company.  They could likely survive on just one or two a year for a few years.  They also have a large install base which will need maintenance for decades to come.

I am not even sure this is the end of the relationship between Cedar Fair and B&M.  The biggest Cedar Fair parks still need rides with massive capacity, high reliability, and low maintenance costs.  Unless we see a sustained drop in attendance the need for high capacity attractions is not changing.  Cedar Point is basically at a natural end, other then the new surf coaster which no one is still sure exactly what it is, and a flyer there is not much B&M makes which they could still build.  But parks like Canada's Wonderland, Kings Island, Knott's, and to a lesser extent Carowinds, and Kings Dominion are still going to need rides with excellent capacity.  It really depends on how attendance is this year and next year on how quickly the two work together again.  But unless attendance does not return to normal rides with low capacity just do not work well at the bigger parks and your not going to see them at the bigger parks.

The real issue here comes down to how quickly will the industry bounce back?  This is not something unique to a single manufacturer, chain, or park.  I have had discussions with industry insiders and many think there will be a rapid return to normal, and some are optimistic we will see a roaring 20s situation where people have been stuck at home with no way to spend their earnings that will suddenly be able to travel and have money to burn.  I know several people who work at the big chains which think we will see record attendance as early as 2022.

During the last down turn parks which continued to build new rides and increase capacity saw a more rapid return to normal and often bounced back even higher then before the recession.  Building as soon as the recovery starts is a good way to get in front of capacity needs and if executives see good attendance this summer smaller cheaper rides could be ordered for 2022, and larger installs could be started in 2022 for a 2023 opening.

Personally I have not traveled for over a year now and since I work in an essential industry I have gone into the office the entire time.  I am waiting for the restrictions to be lifted and I have like 3 or 4 weeks of vacation time and the money saved to take advantage of it.  I used to spend 50+ nights a year in hotels, and plan to return to that as soon as I am able to do so, possibly by this summer.

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1 hour ago, Maddog said:

Bolliger & Mabillard is a consulting engineering company, they really don't "manufacture" anything they put out per-se.  

Indeed, they're not the ones with the huge capital outlay.  They're a team of engineers, architects, etc. in an office who do some of the design and engineering work in-house, and contract other parts.  The steel for their rides, for instance, is contracted out to Clermont Steel Fabricators who require the large facility and expensive equipment to manufacture large steel assemblies.  The environmental assessments and assembly are generally performed by firms in the area around the park purchasing the ride.

If properly managed from a financial standpoint, I don't see why B&M couldn't weather a brief downturn while keeping most staff.  If they really were short on business, they could always work on innovative new designs.  They could even apply their skills to construction projects other than roller coasters to bring in extra cash.  Walter & Claude are said to have left Giovanola not even wanting to work on another roller coaster, but they couldn't turn down the money from Six Flags.

 

2 hours ago, coaster sally said:

@jsusI was pretty concise with my thoughts...

Your suggestion that this pandemic will present an existential crisis (or really any crisis) to B&M is...  Well, this is a family-friendly forum, so I can't really say it.

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5 hours ago, coaster sally said:

Parks are not going to be willing to spend 20+ million on attractions coming out of the pandemic.

Bummer. By that logic it’s bad news for Intamin too since park’s wont want to spend a big up front cost followed by years of maintenance and constantly having to print “sorry, this ride closed” signs. 

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27 minutes ago, Gordon Bombay said:

Bummer. By that logic it’s bad news for Intamin too since park’s wont want to spend a big up front cost followed by years of maintenance and constantly having to print “sorry, this ride closed” signs. 

A certain park in florida tore down two b&m's to make room for two new Intamins.  Just saying...

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1 hour ago, coaster sally said:

A certain park in florida tore down two b&m's to make room for two new Intamins.  Just saying...

Universal can afford to spend money on expensive rides. Also, when they tore down Dragon Challenge, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure was the only ride that replaced it. Velocicoaster is being built in a different area of the park. It is also worth mentioning that Universal is currently building a clone of Incredible Hulk in Beijing themed to Transformers. It also looks like Sea World Orlando is moving forward with their B&M Surf Coaster, and Wing Coaster track has recently been spotted outside of Clermont Steel Fabricators. Why are parks still buying B&M’s when a cheap RMC Raptor will pack a bigger punch? Parks always need reliable, high-capacity, crowd pleaser rides. In a park like Six Flags Great America, the fan favorite is a 1999 B&M Hyper Coaster even though the park has a relatively new RMC. The same can be said with Kings Dominion, they have a relatively new Intamin Giga Coaster, but the relocated B&M Floorless is still much more of a crowd pleaser and gives more rides annually. Even Cedar Point with rides like Millennium Force, Top Thrill Dragster, Maverick, and Steel Vengeance, the top two most ridden rollercoasters are GateKeeper and Valravn.

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18 minutes ago, silver2005 said:

A 'end of B&M' topic coming from a self-identified B&M basher is pretty precious. 

This is relevant here because Cedar Fair has said so themselves investments in experiences and lower costs attractions...

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9 minutes ago, coaster sally said:

This is relevant here because Cedar Fair has said so themselves investments in experiences and lower costs attractions...

Correct me if I am wrong, but Cedar Fair never actually said that. What they actually said has been misinterpreted tremendously not just on this forum but on other forums and in YouTube videos. What Cedar Fair really said is that they wouldn’t be investing in large attractions as often as they used to every 2-3 years, saying they would do so now every 4-5 years at the major parks with special events and parades to fill in the gap years. Cedar Fair never said anything about investing in cheaper rides. They just said they would be investing in large rollercoasters less frequently. It is also important to note that they will continue adding something to every park every year as was announced for 2020 (parades and festivals count as new additions).

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19 hours ago, FUN&ONLY! said:

Cedar Fair never said anything about investing in cheaper rides. They just said they would be investing in large rollercoasters less frequently.

I believe you are correct. Not that they won't look for an affordable option but their chain is all about quality over quantity. You started so see a gap after CF installed their 3 B&M gigas

  • Carowinds: 2015-2019
  • Canada's Wonderland: 2012-2019 (I don't know how much WMG cost)
  • Kings Island: 2020- (We probably won't see any signs of a coaster until at least 2023)

I think we'll see Cedar Fair start to focus on their mid to smaller parks which will certainly bring B&M back into the question. B&M is always brought up when people discuss new coasters for California's Great America and Kings Dominion. Even if they're on the smaller side, these two parks need modern B&Ms. 

As for other chains I know Herschend had a B&M listed when they asked Silver Dollar City patrons what they wanted. Hershey just got a hyper this past year. 

B&M might not be producing a lot of US based coasters as frequently as they did pre pandemic but they have customers all over the globe. They'll be fine.

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On 2/1/2021 at 4:49 PM, coaster sally said:

A certain park in florida tore down two b&m's to make room for two new Intamins.  Just saying...

That same park tore down a B&M to replace it with the exact same B&M. Must see something in them to do that.

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4 minutes ago, coaster sally said:

My bad, that's fallen off the radar.  Makes you wonder when a family coaster at SEAS Orlando is more talked about than your b&m dive at SEAS San Diego.

Yeah but it looks to be one of the best dives

Edit: Imo, just because a coaster has family stats does not mean it’s a family coaster. Ice Breaker looks like it could throw you around like a rag doll. Like Cornball Express, it has family stats but it is most definitely not a family coaster.

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27 minutes ago, PKIDelirium said:

Nothing fell off the radar. The entire chain delayed their 2020 rides to 2021 because of the pandemic.

?.  I don't know of any hype for Emperor.  I know there's hype for jersey devil, pantheon, velocicoaster, iron gwazi, icebreaker, stunt pilot, etc.

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On 2/2/2021 at 11:03 PM, matt112986 said:

That same park tore down a B&M to replace it with the exact same B&M. Must see something in them to do that.

It's almost as if multi-billion dollar corporations don't just make decisions based on whether to keep B&M in business or not.  Instead, it's based on who is able to build what they, as the client, wants at that time.

It says a lot that they rebuilt Hulk without any major changes.  They committed not just to keeping a B&M ride on that site, but the same one, for at least another couple decades.  That would've been the time to spend a little extra and get an entirely new ride with a new layout, but nope.  B&M builds a great ride that doesn't need to be tossed out just because the Floridian weather wore out the steel.

So again, I do not understand the premise of the OP.  This makes about as much sense as threads on MacRumors saying "[X Product] is almost certainly coming this year!"

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6 minutes ago, jsus said:

So again, I do not understand the premise of the OP. 

I think a lot of it comes down to (for many not just OP): preference for rides, especially if you've ridden quite a lot. If you've made your rounds to a few parks and love coasters, you'll find that Intamin, RMC, etc. have some unique rides that often differ from the "types" offer by B&M. 

But, and this gets said year after year and post after post, it's clear that what parks choose to invest in is not based off ACEr preference or Roller Coaster Tycoon style objectives. 

Why do parks keep building with B&M? Because the company makes thrilling rides, that are comfortable and appealing to a large swath of guests, and they feature a huge amount of reliability and a massive amount of throughput. The Beast, on a good day and pushing as hard as it can, can maybe get 800 riders through in an hour. Diamondback can almost double that. Rides stay up, guests are happy and in less lines, the commercials write themselves with "thrilling, new" rides. 

Contrast that with Maverick—a fantastic ride, but one with questionable reliability and less throughput. 

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The thing I don't understand is why the people who don't care for B&M are so hell bent on it that they want to see them out of business.  And its not a select few of them either.  Almost every person I've come across that prefers Intamin to B&M are on that kind of extreme.  

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52 minutes ago, silver2005 said:

The thing I don't understand is why the people who don't care for B&M are so hell bent on it that they want to see them out of business.  And its not a select few of them either.  Almost every person I've come across that prefers Intamin to B&M are on that kind of extreme.  

It's typical toxic fanboyism; you'll find it anywhere..  The company they like is infallible and everything else is garbage in comparison.  See also: Android vs. iOS, Tesla vs. anyone else, etc.

B&M makes high quality, highly reliable, highly enjoyable rides for the guests of any park that can afford them.  If you want something more innovative, you'll generally need to look elsewhere at a company that makes trade-offs to give you that innovation (e.g. INTAMIN).  But then, everything in life involves risks and trade-offs.

I have my own preferences in these and other areas, but I respect the opinions of others.  I try to be open-minded, not blindly loyal to one brand.  And guess what?  All that really matters at the end of a roller coaster is whether or not it was FUN more than it hurt (see The Beast ;) ).

1 hour ago, Gordon Bombay said:

I think a lot of it comes down to (for many not just OP): preference for rides, especially if you've ridden quite a lot.

Indeed.  My point was that referring to "The end of B&M" has no basis in reality.

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31 minutes ago, jsus said:

If you want something more innovative, you'll generally need to look elsewhere at a company that makes trade-offs to give you that innovation (e.g. INTAMIN).  But then, everything in life involves risks and trade-offs.

Maybe I'm just the "play it safe" person but I don't understand the desire to want innovations- the coaster wars are over.

I know I'm kinda contradicting myself since I made an "Innovations" thread a while back but I think there can be a little bit of both. Some manufactures can play it safe with their tried and true formula while others can innovate- both have their pros and cons.

Advocating for the "play it safe" formula, if your company is making millions of dollars on the same rides then you don't really have the need to innovate. Sure you can fiddle around with designs here and there, change train types and such, but the overall formula is still present. Other companies can innovate all they want, but I don't understand the continued praise when their products have accidents, downtime, retracks, and occasionally fatalities.

There's a reason why Cedar Fair has worked with B&M instead of Intamin this past decade.

 

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16 minutes ago, SonofBaconator said:

I know I'm kinda contradicting myself since I made an "Innovations" thread a while back but I think there can be a little bit of both. Some manufactures can play it safe with their tried and true formula while others can innovate- both have their pros and cons.

One thing that troubles me is that some enthusiasts want every new ride installation to be the most mind-blowing thing they've ever seen.  Yes, pushing the limits and creating new thrills at the high thrill end of the ride portfolio is important to keep thrill-seekers engaged.  To an extent.  (Not to the extent of that mythical ride in Saudi Arabia; that's overkill, but anyway..).

There is still a decent segment of park attendance that doesn't want to ride those super-high thrill rides.  Some guests would prefer something less tame.  Wise park planners will take this into account, creating rides of many thrill levels.  Also, low-to-moderate thrill rides will reach end-of-life over time and need replacement.

One example where this dynamic came up was GateKeeper.  Many enthusiasts complain it's not an extremely high thrill ride.  But guess what?  It wasn't intended to be.  It's a more moderate thrill ride designed to welcome you to the park, not to pander to enthusiasts.  And I love it for what it is.

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9 minutes ago, jsus said:

One example where this dynamic came up was GateKeeper.  Many enthusiasts complain it's not an extremely high thrill ride.  But guess what?  It wasn't intended to be.  It's a more moderate thrill ride designed to welcome you to the park, not to pander to enthusiasts.  And I love it for what it is.

The same thing can be said for what Hershey Park just did this past year with Candymonium- and they already have a coaster in the same height range.  

While Skyrish is considered a "wing", (I still don't fully understand that categorization when two of the four seats are right about the track), its been considered intense and painful by many:

https://www.reddit.com/r/rollercoasters/comments/9yt9mx/fixing_the_thigh_crush_on_skyrush/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9qln0BPGCc

https://www.coaster101.com/2012/05/29/skyrush-review/ (read the comments)

https://coasterguy.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/skyrush/

 

 

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