An Underwhelming Ride on the U.S.’s only Diving MachineSheiKra Roller Coaster
I rode the highly anticipated SheiKra the Monday after it opened in May of 2005. Coaster designers, B&M have finally graced the U.S. with one of their inventive Diving Machines. These coasters offer an unprecedented 90 degree drop. If that wasn’t enough, there are brakes at the crest of these drops that hold riders as they stare down at the ground far below them. Busch parks are always top notch when it comes to theming and SheiKra is no exception. A “sheikra” is a species of African hawk known to dive straight down for its prey.

Overall, I have to say SheiKra didn’t live up to the hype. It reminded my of Superman UltimateSheiKra Roller Coaster Flight at SFoGA (another first generation B&M coaster) in terms of its short length. You get two ultra-steep drops, (neither of which were all that challenging) but that’s about it. The highlight of the ride for me was the extreme Immelman where the track goes straight up for what feels like a long time before inverting and finishing the maneuver. Very cool.

The long tunnel, water splash, and brakes at the top of the drops were all cool, but for me didn’t add up to anything all that special. Personally, I’d prefer Apollo’s Chariot’s first drop over this one. Make this ride 300 feet tall and then maybe the view would’ve been a little more daunting. Overall, SheiKra’s no masterpiece, but is still an experience. Most of the 7 points here are for the fact that it’s a B&M ride, which means it’s going to be smooth, fast, comfortable, and innovative. Another couple points go to theSheiKra roller coaster sick Immelman, the watchability of the ride (seeing screaming people held 200 feet in the air) and the fact it’s the first of it’s kind in America. I caught a lot of flack for my rating by the coaster geeks out there, but what can I say. I’m a veteran. It all comes down to the ride and this one was just good. Final Rating – 7.5 (Good-Approaching Great)
So how good is a 7.5? Check out my rating system to find out.

Intense Roller Coasters - For Adventurous RidersSheiKra is rated ‘IN’ for Intense. It’s a 4 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale for of its steep drop, height, and speed.

What’s Your Take?
Have you ridden SheiKra? What’d you think? Leave a comment below.

About The Author

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

19 Responses

  1. malcolm

    i do agree with you TCC, sheikra is a great coaster but 90 dgrees isn't really scary when its done only once if sheikra had more inversions like a zero-g roll and a small intemse vertical loop then dive coasters would really be worth the wait and that's my only probelm with dive coasters are there ins't enough to enjoy but i won't complain i mean i did ride sheikra 20 times in one hour lol

  2. JaMeS

    well, i never got a chance to ride it floorless, but i no fo sho that before floorless, about 6 months after it opened, u could basically walk right on. and there is actually 2 90 degree dives. one is the big one, and the other is into the tunnel. but i think it deserved a 6.5.

  3. malcolm

    the floorless was kinda of a letdown because only the front outside get that floorless feeling and i must say riding in the front on the outside really boosts my rating but its sad that those are the only seats that give you a there is nothing around feeling so with the floorless feature my final rating is…. a 8

  4. Matthew

    yeah when i went i was in the very middle and i wasnt as exited at the end than the people on the outside tracks. Well a little let down, but hey still a good thrilll

  5. Corey

    i havent gotten to ride it floorless yet, but it is a good coaster. that 5 second hold before you drop face first is insane in the front row!

    click my username to see my onboard pic that i entered in a scholarship contest. vote for my sheikra photo =]

  6. anoymous

    i went on sheikra and it is AMAZING! i am only ten so it was pretty intense. my favorite part was when u look straight down and then fall at 70 mph. also the view of tampa was amazing

  7. Frank

    TCC very very right on with this one. Sheikra is definitly a cool coaster, smooth, fast and everything but felt too short. It was my first diving coaster and I love the way you hang on the edge of the drop to see whats below you, but adding a corkscrew or something before the big splash down would've made it so much better.

  8. owen

    i like this ride….i give it a 8…..but if a dive machine did a loop….it would have to be more like a corkscrew because of the wider trains

  9. Dill

    i don't agree with anything said in this review except the short ride time. the first 90 deg drop is awesome and very intense.

  10. Guilherme

    Ok. Right. SheiKra is great and terrific. It deserves more than 7,5. Nice 90 degree drop. Theming is great. I would give this 8,5 of 10, because of the line(TOO long) and Inversions( i like them, even more than air time)

  11. Marilyn

    I have ridden this ride many times but this past Saturday night was the best. My boyfriend and I were front row and as we were hanging, waiting for the drop, he put a ring on my finger and asked me to marry him. Needless to say, we took the "plunge" and I said yes at the end of the ride. AWESOME proposal for a couple of adrenaline junkies. This will always be my favorite coaster.

    On another note, we rode Cheetah the same night and that is AWESOME in the dark.

    • The Coaster Critic

      Congrats Marilyn. That's a unique way to propose. I definitely won't come to you for an unbiased review of SheiKra though 🙂 Coasters are great at night, aren't they?

  12. L.J.

    @CC I agree with your review a 300 foot dive coaster with a large immelman and a water spalsh thatll actually get you wet would make for an amazing roller coaster. It would still have to be short to keep cost low, but that drop would be sweet! 🙂

    @Marilyn: woww congrats! I like your use of took the plunge!

  13. Rosie

    I loved ShiekRa! My cousin took me on it during the only time I ever got to visit Busch Gardens and being in the front seat staring down that drop was amazing! What a rush!


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