Coasters with Ky: Everything You Need to Know About NITRO at Six Flags Great Adventure

Nitro – Six Flags Great Adventure
New Jersey residents have a world renowned rollercoaster in their backyard, and believe it or not, most of them don’t even realize it. It’s the massive rollercoaster known to the world as Nitro – a steel hypercoaster inside Six Flags Great Adventure that has been labeled as one of the Top 10 rollercoasters in the ENTIRE WORLD by Golden Ticket Awards every year that it has been open.

So let’s learn more about it!

Nitro’s 215ft. first drop.

  • Type – Steel
  • Manufacturer – Bolliger & Mabillard
    • NOTE: The same company that built Bizarro (Medusa), Superman: Ultimate Flight, Green Lantern, and Batman: The Ride – all located at Six Flags Great Adventure.
    • SIDE NOTE: You can always tell who manufactured a coaster by the style of track. You’ll notice that Nitro and the rollercoasters I mentioned above have the same track shape, just different sizes and colors.
  • Model – Hyper Coaster (First-Generation B&M hypercoaster)
    • DEFINITION: A hypercoaster is any rollercoaster (with a lift hill) with a height or drop greater than 200ft. The very first hypercoaster is Magnum XL-200, which is located inside Cedar Point in Ohio.
    • FIRST GENERATION: While this is not the first coaster to break 200 feet, it is among the first hypercoasters that B&M has built. Similar first generation B&M hypercoasters include Silver Star (Europa-Park), Goliath (La Ronde), Raging Bull (Six Flags Great America), and Apollo’s Chariot (Busch Gardens Williamsburg). Sea World Orlando has recently announced the addition of their very own B&M hypercoaster, set to debut in 2016.
The entire layout of the ride.
  • Height – 230 feet tall
  • Drop – 215 feet
  • Drop Angle – 68 degrees
    • NOTE: This is the second steepest drop in the park, not counting Kingda Ka. The steepest at the park is El Toro, which features a 76 degree drop.
  • Length – 5,394 feet
    • NOTE: One of the few rollercoasters in the world that is over a mile long.
  • Speed – 80 miles per hour
  • Track Layout – L-Shaped Out & Back
  • Cost to Build – $20 million
  • Opening Date – April 7, 2001


  • Nitro was built because Six Flags had a company-wide “War on Long Lines” initiative in the late-90s. Six Flags Great Adventure needed a major ride that was reliable and also had a high capacity, with speedy loading times. Nitro was conceived as a result.
  • The winter of 2000-2001 was particularly cold, and construction for the ride was quite difficult because construction area was frozen solid for months.

Nitro’s track pieces waiting to be installed in late 2000.

  • The ride is known worldwide for the free floating camelbacks and the long ride adjacent to Prospertown Lake.
  • After the third drop, you experience an element called a “hammerhead turn”. While this may seem insignificant now, when the ride first opened, it was one of the first times a rollercoaster had ever pulled such a maneuver. To this day, 15 years later, Nitro’s hammerhead turn set the bar for unique elements and thrills for coasters with zero inversions.
Nitro’s “hammer-head” turn.
  • After the second drop and the third drop, you’ll notice a set of brakes in the middle of the track. These are called trim brakes. If the rollercoaster is going too fast, these brakes are triggered to slow the train down to the appropriate speed. While most of the time, these are not triggered, it does happen on occasion, depending on the weather and the weight of the train. Trim brakes are quite common on rollercoasters around the world – and they’re quite easy to spot if you know what to look and feel for.
  • Out of all of the coasters in every Six Flags park around the world, it is the longest.
  • Nitro has been known to sometimes not make it over the second hill after the first drop, though this has only happened a couple of times over it’s 14 years of existence. If it does happen, riders are safely brought to a still at the bottom of the first drop and evacuated. At that point, cranes must disassemble the trains, and then reassemble them in the coaster’s shop area. The ride would then reopen a couple of weeks later after determining that this was not a mechanical error.
  • The lift hill used to let the riders know how high the ride was in comparison to landmarks like a space shuttle, the Statue of Liberty and the Niagra Falls – but these were removed.
The entrance to Nitro.
  • It is one of the first B&M coasters to ever use magnetic brakes. Magnetic brakes make the stopping of the ride smoother than mechanical brakes.
  • Nitro has managed to set the record among Six Flags parks for highest number of riders of ANY ride in one year, beating the coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain – which is a theme park that is open all year.
One of Nitro’s many infamous camelback hills.

Let’s take a ride!

A toast to the B&M beast known as NITRO! If you have any further questions about this ride, or any other ride, let me know, and I’ll gladly answer them! More Coasters with Ky blogs will be coming soon!

Written by Kyrus Keenan Westcott

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