A ride on Steel Force begins with a straight course out of the loading station, very slight left turn and slow ascent up a 200-foot chain lift hill. Upon reaching the apex the train plummets 205 feet at a 61-degree angle into a tunnel, reaching a maximum speed of 75 mph. It then ascends, dropping a second time, before making a right turn and negotiating a 510-degree downward helix. This is followed by an upward swoop and the mid course brake run. After the brake run the train negotiates a series of bunny hills, one of which drops into the second tunnel, and makes a right turn which leads back to the station. While the initial drop didn’t strike me as particularly intense, the helix certainly did. As long as I braced myself hard with my feet to avoid being jolted, the helix was wonderful. Highlights of the ride would have to be the helix and the bunny hills during the latter part of the course. These offer some good airtime, especially from the back of the train. One thing that struck me as unusual about Steel Force is that it’s the only coaster I’ve ridden – and I’ve ridden this one dozens of times – on which I never came into physical contact with the lap bar. Despite this the lap bar serves as an effective restraint.
A ride on Magnum begins with the train travelling over the walkway to Cedar Point Shores, making a small dip, turning right and ascending a 205-foot chain lift hill. It’s a very slow climb. In fact both Magnum and Steel Force trains seem to take an eternity to reach the top of the lift hill. Upon reaching the top the train drops 197.4 feet – reaching a maximum speed of 72 mph – rising back up over a camelback before turning left and dropping into the first tunnel. As is the case with Steel Force, the initial drop is nothing to write home about. The train then traverses another hill, after which it negotiates a turnaround and veers left before entering another tunnel. This is followed by a series of airtime hills which lead into the final tunnel and mid course brake run. The train drops unexpectedly – a highlight of the ride – in the darkness of the third tunnel. From that point it winds its way back to the station, turning right and then left.
And the winner is…Steel Force. I give this coaster the win both because of the helix and because of the fact that it offers a much smoother ride than Magnum. Although Magnum offers more airtime than Steel Force, the ride is a somewhat choppy and very, very bumpy one. The restraint system seems to have improved since I first rode it eight years ago, when I was conscious of the lap bar repeatedly whacking me on the legs, and while this did not happen when I rerode it recently, the change did not make the ride any less bumpy.
What’s your take? Have you ridden Steel Force and Magnum and if so, how do you think they match up?