SheiKra vs. Griffon: Dive Coaster Showdown
Comparisons between America’s two dive coasters, Busch Gardens Africa’s SheiKra and Busch Gardens Europe’s Griffon are inevitable. From the time Busch announced Griffon’s details enthusiasts the debate began.

Busch did an excellent job integrating Griffon into New France. The station, landscaping, and shops of were all complete when I visited BGE not long after Griffon opened. I liked how Griffon had its own section in New France. The splash section was off to the side unlike at BGA where SheiKra’s splash spilled over to the main pathway through Stanleyville. They are both themed well and integrated into the parks well. But I give the slight edge to Griffon.
Edge: Griffon

The Drop
The drops on both of the coasters are insane. It’s a twenty-story drop at a staggering 90-degrees. Griffon’s is slightly taller at 205 feet versus SheiKra’s 200 feet. While the 5 foot difference in height is negligible, the bridge you pass under at the bottom of the Griffon’s drop gives a decent arm chopper effect. Edge: Griffon

Both roller coasters feature Immelmann loops. An Immelmann is a simultaneous loop and roll, the named after a World War I German flying ace who invented the maneuver. SheiKra offers one 165-foot tall Immelmann while Griffon’s has two Immelmanns, the largest of which is 146-feet tall. Believe it or not, you really can feel the difference between the loops. The highlight of SheiKra for me was its extreme Immelmann where the track goes straight up for what feels like a long time before inverting and finishing the maneuver. I prefer SheiKra’s extra-large loop, but Griffon has two loops. It’s a tough call.
Edge: SheiKra

To be fair I only rode SheiKra once and I got three rides on Griffon. I think the airtime on Griffon gives it the edge over SheiKra. The two loops and passing under the bridge further help Griffon’s case. But they’re both great coasters.
Winner: Griffon

What’s Your Take?
Which dive coaster do you prefer SheiKra or Griffon. What do you think? Leave a comment below.

43 Responses

  1. sebastian

    i can't believe you picked griffon over sheikra because if you actually pay attention to the drop when riding both of there heights are lies and plus sheikra's drop is longer sheikra is actually 190 ft tall and griffon is actually 185 ft tall and if you look down before the drop the the buildings have a larger distance from the top of sheikra than the top of griffon

  2. vinny

    sheikras immelmenn is 145 ft! not 165! the tallest inversions in the world is 155 ft and thats on volcano blast coaster

  3. Jack

    The truth is that I did not ride any of them but I think sheiKra is better than griffon because of the stop before the drop

    • Chadman

      Are you saying that the stop is a NEGATIVE factor on Griffon? That 5 seconds DEFINES Griffon…but to be honest I know nothing about Sheikra except that it is also a dive coaster. Does it stop and leave you dangling before you dive? If not, then Griffon is BY FAR the better ride.

  4. Joel

    Wow u people are arguing like hes talking about your favorite football teams griffon has better drop more inversions shiekra has a bigger loop and tunnel second drop. Both have there prosand cons

  5. anonomys

    this is all just plain silly arguing over which coaster is better mostly for those who have never ridden either one of them. From the videos they both look like a lot of fun. I’m sure that they both have unique things to offer but I agree with person who said you can’t really post anything unless you have ridden both of them. I’m going to Busch Gardens Europe soon and am really looking forward to it. I’m really excited to try out the Griffon. Someday I definitely want to ride Sheikra it looks amazing!!! I was much more impressed with Sheikra’s theming than Griffon’s though when I watched the videos of both.

  6. Mike M.

    Hey Coaster Critic, based on your reviews of both SheiKra and Griffon and also this roller coaster showdown, is there really a reason for a 1 point difference in their ratings? You said you liked SheiKra’s bigger Immelmann better, however Griffon has 2 Immelmanns so that should be a wash. You said Griffon has a headchopper effect on the first drop and a pop of airtime later on, however, SheiKra has the tunnel on the second drop, which you mentioned as a plus in its review. All in all, I’m not seeing a 1 point difference between the two (I’ve ridden both btw). The negatives you wrote about SheiKra (short, not living up to the hype, drops not challenging) could also be applied to Griffon. Shouldn’t there be a re-rating of ShieKra to line up more with this showdown and your reviews? I’m seeing a half-point difference between the two at best!

    • Joel Bullock

      That’s a fair criticism Mike. I may have been let down by the hype surrounding the dive coaster experience a bit. After seeing Oblivion for years I imagined a 90-degree drop to be terrifying. When it wasn’t, I was let down. That’s not the coaster’s fault, but that’s how I felt at the time. Ridden again, without the hype and expectations you’re right the ratings would probably be closer. Although, I still prefer two loops to one.

  7. Andrew Perry

    i have rode sheikra a lot of time on my 3 visits to tampa and would like to ride griffon but has the first drop goes sheikra is awesome and griffon must be at least as good but the ultimate first drop on a drop coaster has to goto the very first one built and its here in England at alton towers.
    Oblivion drops you the same from a simler height but into an underground tunnel and the pause at the top is random it could be 2 seconds but then again it could be 15 just a shame that the ride is so short but if your in England go try it you will see what i am talking about

  8. Chadman

    I used to work at BG Williamsburg (back in the early 90’s). It was a great place to work. I have since moved to NC but we get season passes every year. From the first time I saw Griffon dangling its riders 200 feet up, I was in love! I’ve ridden it dozens of times in just about every seat. I prefer the fromt row, but in all honesty, IMHO, it varies very little where you ride on this coaster. I prefer the front simply because I like dangling at the very top with NOTHING in front of or below you….its 5 seconds that NEVER gets old. And this coaster just FEELS impetuous….like its harnessing some invisible herculean power that comes after that first 90 degree drop. Yet for all this power, it is SUPER smooth…one of the smoothest coasters I’ve ever been on. Having said all that, I would absolutely give this ride a perfect “10”.


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