Most helpful positive review
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Solid hoop; a few minor issues
on June 2, 2010
This is a very solid, and heavy, system. A few notes: The 3-piece square pole assembly does require effort and patience to assemble, but it really does fit together tightly with a little persistance. I sprayed a little WD-40 around the edges, although I don't think that probably helped too much. You just have to slam the pieces together. The instructions say "bounce" it together on a block of wood, and that is essentially correct, although I think "repeatedly slam" is probably a better description. Once the first two sections are together, those combined sections are quite heavy to "bounce" repeatedly onto the remaining third section. At this point I put the pole assembly on the ground and hammered the last section into the first two sections using a block of wood and a heavy hammer just to get it started (and that wasn't particularly easy, either). Then, once I got it just started, I picked the whole assembly up and did the "bounce" action as described in the instructions and let gravity help in getting the pieces to butt together fully.
I assembled this system by myself, but if I had to do it again I'd recruit an adult to assist. It'll go much easier. I found the instructions to be entirely satisfactory, overall. I took it slow, and was able to get it all together quite easily, and I'm not the world's greatest mechanical wizard. However, it was challenging, particularly for one person. It's heavy and awkward, and that's probably the most difficult part of the assembly.
I would never try to move this hoop with the base filled. I think you'd damage the unit. Instead, move to your desired location and then fill it up (having another person to hold it until it's steady enough that you can continue on your own.) If you need to move it again, you should probably empty it before attempting to roll it anywhere. It's really not that "portable." Also, when you go to stand the unit upright for the first time, have a second person nearby to help. I nearly lost control of it as it was very top-heavy and took a suprising effort to get upright. If this thing ever does fall over, heaven help the person under it. Make sure you have the base weighted down securely and full of water or sand.
The best part of this hoop for me is the cranking height adjustment. Even my 6-year-old can do it, which is great as he can lower it down to shoot all by himself.
The biggest disappointment is probably the rigidity of the backboard. It looks great from a distance, but upon close inspection it's just a very thin (1/8 inch at most) sheet of not very rigid polycarbonate, and it seems to make a lot of noise when the ball hits it. The backboard reinforcing/mounting brackets on the back side are rather close to the center of the backboard, so anything that hits outside of that small central area above the rim will cause a quite a lot of vibration/noise. I was very surprised to see how thin the backboard was. Naturally you can't expect tempered glass quality at this price point, but I think there are thicker acrylic backboards on similar systems that are much more rigid and would provide a more satisfying bounce. And for what it's worth: there's a lot of conflicting information out there about polycarbonate vs. acrylic. My understanding, and I think I'm correct, is that polycarbonate is "stronger" than acrylic in that it resists shattering or cracking. However, acrylic--although in theory more fragile--is more rigid and provides a better bounce when you throw a basketball at it (all else being equal, such as the bracing and support posts, etc.). I've heard that some people have put foam behind the backboard on this model to reduce the noise and vibration, but I'm not sure exactly how you would do that. And I don't mean to make too big of deal about the noise. It's still a very fun hoop to use, and I've used cheaper hoops that reverberate even more.
And an odd note: the NBA sticker was placed on my backboard upside down. No big deal, but still, it be nice to have the NBA logo right side up. The rim is very high quality, too.
For me, the cranking height adjuster is awesome, and it's something of a beast for a portable unit. If the backboard were just a little thicker and more rigid I'd give this 5 stars, but it's still so much fun that I'm very pleased with it and give it 4 stars without reservation.