Ride Review: Evolution

A Fabbri Evolution that used to reside at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, NJ. Its long gone unfortunately.

A Fabbri Evolution that used to reside at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, NJ. It’s long gone unfortunately.

Evolution is a gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. I guess that sort of vaugely has something to do with this ride. They can call it whatever the hell they want to however because this ride is just plain good.

Evolution is a hard to miss ride on the midway; it’s big, imposing, and loaded with flashing lights. Many of the ones you’ll find at local fairs in the US and abroad are made by Fabbri, and are much less intense than their counterparts (more in Other Info.) Evolution is composed of a large boom with a small wheel that holds 10 riding compartments at one end and a counterweight on the other end. The riding compartments have 4 seats each with a harness and overhead bar to secure riders in.

The Ride

A ride cycle on the Fabbri made Evolution starts with the wheel spinning up. It spins pretty slowly, and remains at the same slow speed throughout the ride. Next, the ride compartments mechanically turn so that riders are facing skyward. Finally the boom starts to slowly revolve. That is basically the whole ride, but the motion the riders experience is very odd…

Bear with me here…the wheel is spinning and the riders are facing upward when the wheel is at its lowest point. Once the boom is horizontal, the wheel is positioned vertically, and riders are moving from rightsideup to upsidedown. When the wheel is at its highest point, riders are facing straight down at the ground 80 or so feet below, while still spinning no less. If you can visualize that chaotic scene, then you know what an Evolution ride holds in store!

Other Info

As I alluded at the beginning, there is another type of Evolution ride which is made by Nauta Bussink. The Bussink Evolutions are grotesquely large, really fast and very hard to come by. Excalibur at Six Flags St. Louis is the only one in the US. This actually used reside at my home park, Six Flags Great Adventure, with its original colors and name; it was removed in 2003. I never got to ride it because it was nearly always closed. The difference between the Bussink Evolutions and the Fabbri models besides size are that the ride compartments hang freely so instead of the wheel spinning slowly, the wheel spins up to a speed comparable to an Enterprise and the compartments swing to an upward position using the centrifugal force.

The Bussink Evolutions can hold an incredible 64 riders per cycle (as opposed to 40 for the Fabbri model,) and are about 110 feet high. Besides Six Flags St. Louis, the other Bussink model is rumored to be somewhere in Asia. A third one supposedly resides in storage in the Netherlands. So I guess the only confirmed running Bussink Evolution is the one at Six Flags St. Louis!

The Bussink Evolutions are truly the highest form of flatride you can ever find, and are incredible pieces of machinery in their own right. Here’s an off-ride video of Imperator…finished watching? Good, because there’s also an onride video as well!

8 Comments

  • Daisy says:

    Hi there I just stumbled across this site while reading up (geeking) on Breakdances. You’re right about the one that was at Astroland, it was the best operated I’ve been on outside of Europe. So sad it’s gone now :'(

    It’s really funny reading about your American rides, they look so ghetto! heehee. Anyway I just wanted to confirm what you said about the third Bussink Evolution. It’s called ‘Imperator’ and is legendary over here. It’s the largest flat ride that ever travelled.

    It did the German circuit for a long time but disappeared in the mid Nineties. Luckily it has made one or two outings since then but it’s still a rare sight. I’ve never seen it in person but from the photos it’s incredible to think that this thing is movable! It’s owned by Eberhard, who also own one of two Mondial Inferno’s. Their’s is called Airwolf and travels in Germany. The other Inferno is called Night Fly and can be seen in France.

    Here are some photos of Imperator: http://www.ridesdb.com/db/thumbpic.php?ride_id=151

    Enjoy!

    • DoD3Brian says:

      Hey Daisy!

      Imperator is certainly an incredible ride; I also can’t beleive they managed to move it around so much in its heyday. Like, it might be a ‘traveling ride’ but I’ve also heard that it took something like 8-10 vehicles to move! Last I heard, Imperator is in China somewhere but no one has spotted it.

      Now that Imperator is is MIA and Evolution #1 is effectively a park model, maybe it’s time for the mysterious third Evolution to make an appearence somewhere!

      And yes, most American rides are ghetto looking but in their defense most were made in the 60s and 70s. However, there really hasn’t been many notable US manufactured rides since then. lol

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Chuck says:

    The Evolution is ok. Rode this piece many times and wish it could be something more. The ride sensation is to predictable. Too much engineering involved which I feel takes the experience away. We have a couple of big fairs in California which feature both Evolution, and a Zipper. Zipper always out grosses the Evolution. Not bad for a ghetto ride.

    I had a few friends of mine from Germany, visit the states. I brought to one of our local fairs. Our fair features everything including an Evolution, Tango, Experience, several other KMG pieces and a ton more. The first thing they wanted to ride was Zipper. They were blown away by its wickedness, and rode it several more times throughout the day. Funny thing is, they stayed away from the european built rides we had, and only wanted to ride the American versions.

    Nothing notable? Gravitron is a classic and not from the 70’s. LOL. Tilt A Whirl by far is the classic of all rides worldwide.

  • tiana says:

    i herd that you come out of your seat alot on this ride…is this true?

  • emari says:

    i wonder if the harnesses are to tight on the ride like top spin?

  • Ruth says:

    Local fair is coming and i really want to ride this, but im scared i might fall out cause of the seat belts!

  • MJ says:

    been on the one at Six Flags St. Louis..i was excited to see it running after seeing it closed at Great Adventure EVERYTIME i went there..it was an okay ride..expected it to be more “wild”, but a decent ride

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