Europe’s Top 25 Roller Coasters - Golden Cog Awards 2018


The Golden Cog Awards are back! After last year’s UK-edition, the poll has been expanded and improved with the aim to find the top 25 roller coasters within Europe.

Prior to voting this year, a pre-selection was made by the Coaster Bot team to shortlist 30 potential winners of the poll. After refining this list by implementing feedback from the community, the final 30 rides were selected and the voting began. A week later the votes were counted and sorted, creating the final list of Europe’s Top 25 Roller Coasters.

How does the poll work?

The methodology for the Golden Cog Awards is crucial to the accuracy and integrity of the poll. Voters were only permitted to rank the rides they had previously experienced. This way the lists themselves would be as truthful and accurate as possible. The voting process resulted in over 2500 rides being ranked by voters who, on average, were able to rank 7.53 coasters. With over 20 nationalities being represented, the voting stage portrays the impressions of riders from all backgrounds. Based on Mitch Hawker’s highly regarded roller coaster polls, the overall ranking was not done on a simple point basis as seen within other extremely bias polls. Instead, the final results were calculated by directly comparing the rank of two specific roller coasters in all of the poll’s submitted lists.

An Example

To explain this system in more detail, let’s look at four randomly generated lists:

List 1
Blue Fire
The Swarm

List 2
The Smiler
Blue Fire
The Swarm

List 3
Blue Fire
The Swarm
The Smiler

List 4
The Swarm
The Smiler

In the example of Taron, it would be set up against all other 29 rides listed within the poll to see if it ranked higher or lower than a specific ride more times. For each of these one on one battles, Taron would be rewarded either a win, a loss, or a draw. The individual matches only occur in lists that have both rides ranked.

First, Taron is paired up against Wildfire. For every list in which Taron is ranked above Wildfire, Taron will be assigned a point and vice versa:
Taron (1) - (3) Wildfire

This results would assign Taron a loss, whereas Wildfire would be assigned a win. If Taron is paired up against all mentioned roller coasters in the list, the results are as follows:
Taron (1) - (3) Wildfire
Taron (2) - (1) Blue Fire
Taron (3) - (0) The Smiler
Taron (4) - (0) The Swarm

Based on these results, Taron would be assigned 3 wins and 1 loss, resulting in a win rate of 75%. This method continues for all 30 roller coasters, providing a win rate for each. The win rates are then used to rank the rides: the highest win rate will be ranked as number 1, while the lowest win rate will close the list at number 30.

By doing this, it eliminates that natural high ridership bias that occurs within point based systems. Therefore, even roller coasters with few riders can still rank as highly as others.

The results

After carefully processing the votes the final ranking was as follows:

  1. Wildfire - Kolmården (100.00%)

  2. Expedition GeForce - Holiday Park (96.55%)

  3. Der Schwur des Kärnan - Hansa Park (93.10%)

  4. Hyperion - Energylandia (89.66%)

  5. Helix - Liseberg (86.21%)

  6. Piraten - Djurs Sommerland (82.76%)

  7. Taron - Phantasialand (79.31%)

  8. Lech Coaster - Legendia (75.86%)

  9. Shambhala - PortAventura (72.41%)

  10. iSpeed - Mirabilandia (65.52%)

  11. Nemesis - Alton Towers (62.07%)*

  12. Goliath - Walibi Holland (62.07%)

  13. Balder - Liseberg (55.17%)

  14. Icon - Blackpool Pleasure Beach (55.17%)

  15. Red Force - PortAventura (51.72%)

  16. Troy - Toverland (51.72%)

  17. Silver Star - Europa Park (48.28%)

  18. Karacho - Tripsdrill (34.48%)

  19. Black Mamba - Phantasialand (34.48%)

  20. Wodan - Europa Park (34.48%)

  21. Fluch von Novgorod - Hansa Park (31.03%)

  22. Blue Fire - Europa Park (27.59%)

  23. The Smiler - Alton Towers (27.59%)

  24. Lost Gravity - Walibi Holland (20.69%)

  25. The Swarm - Thorpe Park (20.69%)

  26. OzIris - Parc Astérix (17.24%)

  27. Dragon Khan - PortAventura (12.07%)

  28. Raptor - Gardaland (8.62%)

  29. Flug der Dämonen - Heide Park (1.72%)**

    Furius Baco - PortAventura (1.72%)

* If two win rates are tied, the specific outcome of the match-up between the two tied coasters will determine the winner.
** As the match-up between Flug der Dämonen and Furius Baco ended in a draw itself, the rank is shared.


From just an initial glance the outcome of the poll does seem very reasonable. Many of Europe’s most talked about rides, including Wildfire, Expedition GeForce, Helix, Taron and Shambhala all placed within the top 10. However, with various biases removed, lesser known rides including Der Schwur des Kärnan (which ranked a fantastic 3rd!), Piraten, Lech Coaster and iSpeed, all did extremely well also.

Ultimately, the poll was successful. We created quite a fair list of Europe’s best roller coasters, a list which you can’t find through many other biased polls. No matter the general outcome everyone likes different things, and each of our own personal rankings would be very different to those above. Compare how close your lists are to the ones above with your friends, and even comment your thoughts on the poll down below!

The future

Many of you would love to see the poll expanded to the USA and that’s a fantastic idea. Hopefully after another year of tweaking and upgrades we can expand the poll further, both increasing it’s accuracy and coverage. Who know’s what the future will bring! Thank you to all those who took part in this years Golden Cog Awards and hopefully we’ll see you again next year!

- Harry, Aron, Andrew and Zoë

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