There are three primary categories basketball rims (also known as basketball goals) are broken down into. These categories are: Breakaway Rims, Flex Rims and Fixed Rims. Here we will describe the common function and purpose of each type.
“Breakaway” is the most commonly known term and most commonly misused term for any basketball rim that flexes down when a player hangs on the rim. In fact, a breakaway rim requires more than the ability to flex down to be considered a true breakaway rim. Breakaway rims typically have what is called a “detent” mechanism built into the inside of the box where the return springs are installed. This detent mechanism is designed to regulate the amount of pressure required to flex the rim down. This is a requirement for all sanctioned competitive games. As a result, true breakaway rims are best used for indoor use where competition or highly competitive games are played as detent mechanisms do require periodic lubrication when used outdoors. First Team’s FT190 is an extremely popular breakaway for middle & high school use, while the FT196 is popular at the collegiate level or anywhere high level athletes play.
Flex rims are generally identical to Breakaway rims with one exception. Flex rims do not employ the use of a “detent” mechanism. By removing the detent mechanism from the construction, flex rims lend themselves to long life both indoors and outdoors. We recommend you choose a flex rim for any outdoor application. It will provide long, maintenance free life every time. Our FT186 & FT187 are two of the most popular flex rims sold and manufactured in the USA.
A common misconception regarding fixed rims is that they are not as durable as breakaway or flex rims. This is essentially untrue. Just like anything, there are more durable versions and less durable versions. While more economical fixed rims serve a cost related purpose and do not claim to be durable in extreme playing conditions, a heavy duty fixed rim may be the correct choice for the most abusive courts performing better than even the best built breakaway or flex rim. Because a fixed rim does not have pivot points or springs, a fixed rim that is built from heavy duty materials will literally never fail from overuse/abuse. Our FT172D is a great example of a virtually indestructible rim.