Raging Bull? I say Relaxing Bull. Now, don't get me wrong--I love the coaster. But if you're
looking for the tight-turned intensity of Bolliger & Mabillard's other Six Flags Great
America creations, Iron Wolf and Batman: The Ride, you probably won't find it in Raging
Bull. What you will find is a super-smooth hyper-twister with some great airtime.
Raging Bull opened in 1999, becoming the park's tallest, fastest, and longest roller
coaster. The ride towers 202-feet above the ground and features a 208-foot plunge into an
underground tunnel, which sends riders soaring through the 5,057-foot circuit at speeds of
Besides Bull's massive orange and wine-colored structure, the first thing a rider might
notice is the purplish/bluish bull that 'looms' over the entrance to the queue. And
I say 'looms' with all of the ferocity of a friendly cartoon cow. It is a pretty
creative sign, however, so I have to give Six Flags some credit. The station is off the
ground a few flights, and I sometimes find it easy to overlook the themeing that went into
it. Granted, it's not overly elaborate, but Great America seems to be doing something
right with the whole Southwest Territory theme.
Boarding the 9-row train is one of my favorite parts of the ride. Those B&M seats and
clamshell restraints are just so dang comfy that I can practically fall asleep in them.
Once the restraints are checked, the train departs the station into a 180-degree turn to the
left, swooping downward and then rising to meet the chain lift. The uphill climb is the
perfect time to simply relax in those comfy seats or scope out the queues for Demon, Viper,
Deja Vu, and Giant Drop. As the train crests the top of the 202-foot lift, it makes its way
down the pre-drop, picks up speed, and then goes soaring at a 65 degree angle.
Gotta love that pre-drop! It provides just the right amount of momentum to give some great
air time'perhaps even some ejector air in the last couple of rows.
The entire drop seems to funnel you directly into Raging Bull's tunnel. And at 73
miles per hour, you're only in there for a fleeting moment. You rocket out the opposite
side and up into a right-hand-turning hammerhead of sorts. The experience on the inside seats
here is great - you're hanging high above Viper's queue. Similar to the first half
of Six Flags Magic Mountain's Goliath, the train then drops down and rises up again,
crossing over the initial drop in the form of a parabolic hill. I try to rationalize that
the trims leading up the parabolic hill are only there to increase the floatage. I hope I'm
right. And float you do, all the way up and over the crest.
Now, here's where Bull differs from Goliath. After dropping out of the parabolic hill,
the train rises up again and turns about 90 degrees to the left in a broad, semi-overbanked
turn. As you soar back down to the ground, you pass underneath the lowest portions of the
lift hill. There are some positive G's worth noting here. You then fly around a
left-hand-turning element that I would classify as cross between a high-speed carousel and a
hammerhead turn. You head again toward the ground and then back up into a tight 90-degree
turn to the right and a quick (but always smooth) leveling off into the mid-course
After a light trimming, the train is yanked out from beneath you as you drop to the ground
and then over a parabolic hill, floating all the while. The train then heads up and to the
right, making a circle (a lasso, if you will) around the initial drop and first parabolic
hill. Coming out of this turn, the train again drops down to the ground, and we make our way
through a light trim brake and into the last element -- the signature B&M figure eight.
First to the left, then an upward helix to the right, a small drop, and then a turn to the
left that rises sharply as it meets the brake run. If you're lucky, you'll get a
small pop of airtime just before the train hits the brakes.
Bull then rolls through the stable (storage building), over the transfer track, and back into
the station. Though donning a huge grin, I know that I will soon be forced to leave the
comfort of that seat. Maybe I can get just one more ride.
All in all, Raging Bull is a unique ride. Hats off to B&M and Six Flags for fitting such
a great layout into such an odd space. In my opinion, the highlights of the ride are the
first drop and the two parabolic hills (I am a huge lover of air time). While the trims aren't
excessive, I would love to one day experience the unbridled power of Bull. For now, however,
I feel that the coaster lacks the degree of intensity required to really make it Raging.
Unique twister layout
Comfortable rolling stock
Could be a bit more intense