54" Lifetime 71522 Acrylic
Competitive Edge is a first rate seller. I have been very pleased with their customer service and prompt attention to phone calls and emails. They have been very professional and courteous. All questions were answered to my satisfaction. Regarding the portable Lifetime model 71522, it is a good quality system. I was not missing any parts and everything arrived undamaged. I was very pleasantly surprised at the directions, which I thought were pretty straight forward. There were two small errors that I noticed. 1) It said to attach the lower support arms to the middle pole, when it was actually the top pole. The middle pole did not have holes that would accept the bolts. 2) Attaching the left and right plastic pads onto the backboard were reversed. Common sense told me that they were designed so the lip covers the front of the acrylic backboard, not the backside. No big deal, easy enough to figure out. I got excited and started the project by myself at 10 pm and ended at around 2 am, when I was getting delirious from being overtired. Doing it alone took me about 2 more hours the following day using a stack of tires to help support the pole to try and attach the backboard. It also took me longer due to trying to jockey it around my relatively packed garage, because it was raining out. I highly suggest you follow the directions and use 1o 2 other adults to help you lift and position things to make it easier. I was inpatient and wanted it done, plus the satisfaction to say I did it by myself. The system is well designed and seems to be of good quality. The acrylic is 4.75 mm thick compared to the standard 3 mm polycarbonate that seems to be so popular. It has less give than the polycarbonate and is not nearly as noisy when a ball is bounced off of it. To be clear, this is not a glass backboard, but a reasonable compromise given the lower price point. This system is also one of the only to use 1 1/2" steel frame, compared to the 1" norm. To me, the difference is noticeable in terms of how rigid it is. If I were to redo, I might consider the 54" Spalding glass unit, which has a 4" square pole and a thicker .25" tempered glass backboard, but that was a good $200+ more so I accept the tradeoff. It is reasonably rigid, but still a portable system with a relatively small pole. It does move on impact, but my family has no aspirations to play in the NBA or even in high school. We wanted a midrange quality hoop and this qualifies as such. If you anticipate your children playing in high school and beyond, I would recommend getting a glass unit. Overall very satisfied with the quality and directions.
Reviewed by: CNY from Syracuse, NY.