In Defense of Rougarou

Here’s the hottest take we’ve got:

We think Rougarou is the best Floorless coaster in the USA and possibly the World.

Is it? That’s irrelevant – there’s no true way to measure that figure. This article, like all “best/worst” statements, is subjective and merely an opinion. But to say we enjoy Rougarou more than any other Floorless coaster is a fact – and here’s why:

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Rougarou is weird. It’s obvious that this ride is still Mantis – the first of 3 large scale B&M Stand-Up coasters – at its core, and not only is this ride not a proper Floorless coaster; it wasn’t even normal for a Stand-Up coaster. Chang (Green Lantern) and, more importantly, Riddler’s Revenge steered the B&M Stand-Up product line toward perfection using a roadmap laid out by Mantis, which felt charmingly amateurish by comparison even after just a few years.

With the B&M Inverted coaster taking off into the stratosphere, developing a Stand-Up coaster that was more than just a loop, a corkscrew, and some transitions was its own foray into uncharted territory. The result was a modest variation of Kumba, with fewer inversions but some very distinct elements. Everything before the midcourse brake was a stroke of genius, particularly the non-inverting, over-station maneuver sandwiched between examples of easily our favorite B&M inversions: the dive-loop, and the once Stand-Up–exclusive “inclinded loop” (our favorite moment on the ride). The rest of the ride is essentially the back half of Iron Wolf, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – in fact, it’s the post midcourse where we’d see the most dramatic changes with Chang and later Riddler, leaving the jarring spaghetti-and-corkscrew finale a unique trait among the larger Stand-Ups.

Fast forward about two decades, and Mantis is seeing diminishing returns. It’s not a particularly special coaster anymore, and Cedar Point, having missed the Floorless coaster wave entirely, saw an opportunity to do something unique. Suddenly, much of what was no longer special about Mantis would become one-of-a-kind in the context of Floorless coasters, and the results are fascinating. A vertical loop or a dive loop may not be anything new for Floorless coasters, but the over-station maneuver / inclined loop combo startles long-time riders with the reminder that this is Stand-Up Coaster Holy Ground – only now enjoyed as a nostalgic-edged, sit-down looper. The second half is definitely still “just Iron Wolf,” but once again the Floorless trains – which feature a uniquely high center of gravity to help keep the ride comfortable (in theory) – highlight the spaghetti junction in a way that Stand-Up trains no longer could.

Basically what we’re saying is that the sheer novelty of Mantis becoming a Floorless coaster goes a long way for us; as fans of 80s–90s loopers and Stand-Up coasters, Rougarou feels like an unlikely love letter to both pedigrees. While smaller Stand-Ups have also now been converted to Floorless coasters, Rougarou’s mid-90s-esque layout – one that snapshots a young B&M basking in their early multi-looper greatness – is what does it for us.

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