Coaster Review: The Pepsi Max ‘Big One’

‘The Big One’ is a Pepsi Max sponsored roller coaster at the Blackpool Pleasure Beach resort in North-West England (UK).

I think The Big One is probably the highest coaster I’ve ever been on. Although other coasters may come close, because it’s located on the Blackpool coast, the wind coming in off the sea makes you feel as though you’re at the top of an Himalayan abyss.

This coaster is prone to being closed due to high winds in the vicinity. The first couple of times I was in the area since it was opened, I didn’t get on, but it was worth the wait…

‘The Big One’  Coaster Vital Statistics

  • Type of ride: Steel ‘standard’ coaster
  • Height: 213 feet
  • First drop: 205 feet
  • Top speed: 74 mph
  • Track length: 5497 feet
  • Ride time: 2:00 minutes (actual 1:15)
  • Inversions: 0
  • Max G:Force: 3.5
  • Height requirement: 52 inches
  • Opened: 28/05/1994
  • Manufacturer: Arrow Dynamics

The Big One is an imposing coaster. When you walk up to it, it’s quite stunning, both in terms of height and location. It looks out of place, towering over residential houses.

Lots of the new-world coasters are quite compact in area. The Big One is high and long and as you approach it, it takes in your whole field of vision. When you get in your seat, you find it’s only a lap-bar holding you in and could be forgiven for wondering whether you’ve been duped and this is all going to be a bit tame.

The traditional coaster chain lift takes a full 45 seconds to get us to the stunning 213 foot height. The view from this height is quite remarkable. Everything on the ground is very small and, like The Who once said, you can see for miles and miles.

While you’re admiring the view, the track takes you into a small dip and curves round to the right before plunging you downwards 205 feet in a very short space of time. Then it’s back up again to let us drop, slightly more gently this time but taking you along the full length of the coaster and parallel with the Blackpool promenade.

At the end of the long run, the track takes you round a full 360 degree left hand turn, doubling back and taking three long dips; one shallow, one deep and the last shallow one taking you into a left turn with one more dip taking you below the structure for a classic old-school head-chop moment.

We then come back up for a dab of the brakes before another dip which takes us into a tight horizontal 360 left-hand loop and an even closer head-chop under the white timber structure again before a final bend and dip into the dark to finish.

Now for complex coaster fans, it’s easy to look at this coaster and discount it as a one trick pony. However it has to be said, it’s a helluva trick.

Verdict?

This coaster opened the same year as Nemesis at Alton Towers. Completely different genre, but it’s a rocking coaster nonetheless.

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