Most helpful positive review
77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
Best portable system I've seen
on December 27, 2011
This will be a two-part review ... the product, and the installation.
It's the best portable system I've seen (and I've seen several). I'd give it a 10 on a scale of 1-10 for portable systems (most of the portable systems, including our old one, I would give a 2 or 3).
But to help you compare it to a high school or college gym system, if a college hoop system with a glass backboard was a 10, I'd probably give this an 8. There is still some movement and vibration in play, but not much.
I'd rate it better than most outdoor court backboards and better than many of the indoor courts (grade school and middle school) my son has played on that use metal or plexiglas backboards. Bottomline, it's not perfect, but if you need (and can afford) this portable system, I think you'll be pleased.
Let me throw out a real plus for Amazon. We had problems with the freight company that delivered it. Won't bore you with the details, but Amazon made it right ... and I'd say went beyond what was necessary. I'm a fan of Amazon for sure.
Now for the installation:
First, it took me about 4 hours. If I were doing it again, it would probably take two or two and 1/2. I personally think the instructions are very good. And in my case, all the hardware was well packed in individual packages for each of the major installation steps. And it was all there. But there were no extra parts, so don't lose washers or bolts, etc..
Let me give some setup hints that might be helpful that I haven't seen in other reviews.
First, of course, read the instructions carefully. All warnings and important notes are there for a reason. I read the instructions online couple times before the shipment arrived, and still missed a few important details as I went through the setup. And make sure you look at the pictures carefully to ensure you have the right part alignment. Bottomline, read the instructions.
The main pole assembly - this takes two people for sure. I used a ladder (some use the back end of a pick up truck to stand on. Bottomline, I stood up high, my son down low, and at my call, we raised it about 1 1/2 to 2 feet vertical (I lifted from up high, my son from down low), and then dropped it on the wood. Took us about four or five drops to get it fully seated. Much easier than I expected (about 5 minutes total). We did use WD-40, but not sure whether that mattered or not. As a caution, I reminded my son everytime, before each drop to keep his feet clear. Trust me, you would do some serious damage if you dropped the pole on someone's foot.
When you install the main pole on the base, get nine inch socket extender. I happened to have 3-three inch extenders that I linked together, and it saved me a phenomenal amount of time tightening the nuts that hold the pole to the base. You need the extenders to have maneuver room.
Believe it or not, with just the pole installed on the base, it doesn't tip over. That surprised me, but was good for installing the side braces.
One little gotcha installing the wheel assembly ... on step 4 in the instructions, it shows a cutout of parts 14/15 and W7. Make sure you put bolt W7 through the hole in 14/15 before you install that part on the wheel axel. I didn't, and I had to undo it and reinstall. Just some wasted time.
It's important to lean the pole on a sawhorse like they tell you. However, my sawhorse was actually to low, as I suspect most standard size sawhorses are. When you install the elevator tubes, make sure they are at least about six inches above the ground, as you'll need that when you install the backboard. Bottomline, the pictures show the pole leaning on a sawhorse with a lot of ground clearance. You need that ground clearance (and I didn't have it at first).
I found installing the backboard to be my hardest step. Largely, because I didn't have a tall enough sawhorse so I didn't have eough ground clearance. I almost thought one time I was going to puncture the glass with one of the elevator tubes (fortunately I didn't). But you need two people for this at least. I'd recommend anchoring the lower elevator tubes to the backboard first, and then the upper (and freely moving) ones second. It may seem simple, but one of the tricky steps is trying to properly fit the plastic washer (part A4) betwen the elevator tube arm and the backboard frame. With my fumble fingers, it was a bit challenging with not much space to work.
On the backboard assembly, I had to tighten the bolts just a little bit tighter than they recommended (they say flush, I had to go a turn or so further). You can play that one as your assembly dictates.
Don't forget to fill the base about half way before you try to stand up the goal assembly (I did forget). Trust me, with an empty base, and the backboard installed, it will tip forward very easily. I almost lost it a couple times at this point. Would not have been cool to see it come crashing down.
I found that it actually rolls pretty easily on asphalt or concrete. When you pull the gray front piece forward, it actually lowers the front wheels in place, letting it roll freely. It's real heavy (probably somewhere around 600 pounds when full of water/sand), but it rolls pretty well. But it will not roll at all on grass (didn't try it on dirt). It's simply too heavy and will sink in. I actually had to use some plywood ramps to get mine to it's final location.
Installing the rim and fascia pieces was pretty straight forward (though again you need some coordinated fingers to get the rim bolts in the right place).
All in all, I had a lot of fun putting it together, and my son is having a lot of fun practicing on it.
Hope this helps a bit.