Kings Island calls Diamondback its "tallest, fastest, meanest ride." I can't argue with the first two. But meanest? I think that S.O.B -- er, the defunct wooden coaster, Son of Beast -- is King Island's unequaled and all-time champion in the mean department. Diamondback, however, is the opposite of mean. It's silky smooth. And what kind of a mean ride would deliver such a motherlode of airtime?
- Type of coaster: Steel Hypercoaster
- Height: 230 feet
- First drop: 215 feet
- First drop angle: 74 degrees
- Other drops: 193 feet, 131 feet, 129 feet, 110 feet, 106 feet
- Top speed: 80 mph
- Track length: 5318 feet
- Height requirement: 54 inches
- Ride time: 3:00 minutes
- Manufacturer: Bolliger & Mabillard
Diamondback Delivers Delirious Venom
The fun begins in Diamondback's station. Instead of a traditional train, the coaster's front and sides have been stripped away leaving, essentially, seats bolted to a chassis. Each car has two rows of two ultra-comfy bucket seats. To give everyone the approximation of a front-row view, the two seats in each car's back row are slightly elevated and offset at the outer edges of the train (think: stadium seating). Adding to the wide-open feeling, the only safety restraint is a single, unobtrusive lap bar.
After leaving the station, Diamondback makes its way up its conventional 23-story lift hill at a fairly robust clip. Then, it's nearly straight down 215 feet as the coaster drops at a 74-degree angle and reaches its top bugs-in-your-fangs speed of 80 mph.
Diamondback really starts working its magic as it soars up its second hill and offers a sweet, sustained burst of airtime. At 193 feet, the coaster's second drop is nearly as long as its first. And the airtime Diamondback delivers as it swiftly and smoothly slithers up its third hill is even more sustained and sweeter than the previous dose. If this is the "mean" ride's venom, you probably wouldn't want any antidote.
Sinfully Smooth and Slithery
The third drop is a 131-foot plunge that ends in a turnaround and another airtime-infused rise up into the airspace above Kings Island. Diamondback then uncoils into a deftly maneuvered helix and enters a trim brake to briefly slow its out-of-control (but always buttery smooth) mayhem.
Two more airtime-crazy peaks and valleys follow, and the coaster closes with a splashtacular finish by entering a pool of water and using the fins on the back of its trains to shoot enormous plumes of water into the air (but not onto its passengers).
It's no surprise that Diamondback is sinfully smooth and loaded with airtime. It's designed by the roller coaster geniuses at Swiss-based Bolliger and Mabillard, the developers of such ultra-smooth, ultra-wonderful hypercoasters as Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. With B & M's able assistance, Diamondback is, in my opinion, the gem of the impressive coaster collection at Kings Island -- and one of the best coasters anywhere.
Read my review of another one of the signature coasters at Kings Island, The Beast.