Burton Cartel bindings are known for their “all-roundedness.” They can do a little bit of anything and comfortably handle a wide range of terrain and conditions. However, there is more to them than what meets the ice.
First and foremost, it’s important to note that Burton Cartel Bindings come in two versions: The Reflex and The EST.
Despite their slight differences in name and design, the two versions are very much alike. The ReFlex and EST technology in each allow them to flex well with whatever board they are on.
As far as board compatibility is concerned, Burton Cartel bindings do well with a wide range of snowboards with medium-soft or medium-stiff flexing.
In this review, I’ll cover everything there is to know about the Burton Cartel Bindings.
Burton Cartel Bindings Key features
- All-mountain style.
- Medium-stiff Flex.
- Compatible with boards having flex in the range of 4/10 to 7/10.
- Mounts to 2×4, 4×4, Channel
- For intermediate, advanced, and expert boarders
- The ReFlex™ Binding System.
- A single component nylon baseplate.
- The ReFlex FullBED Cushioning System.
- Single component highbacks with Zero Lean Canted Ergonomic Design.
- Hammerlock strap 2.0 and Supergrip Capstrap for a firm and more comfortable fitting
- The FlexSlider feature makes strapping a breeze.
- Lightweight SmoothGlide Buckles for a smoother and more reliable ratcheting power
Design and durability
Burton keeps their bindings simple but effective. Unlike others in the market, the Cartels are more reserved with their looks. However, that’s not to say they are not desirable. They’re perfect for those craving a more “classic” look.
As for durability, I can comfortably assure you that these bindings will survive the test of time and service. I took them out a couple of times and tested them on different conditions and terrains across powder and ice. They did well without showing any signs of fatigue, wear, or tear.
In my opinion, the Burton Cartels are among the lightest all-mountain-oriented bindings. It’s amazing how are they can offer so much in a lightweight package.
The Burton Cartels offer a medium-stiff flex ideal for boarders with unrestricted access to all terrains. They can do just about anything you want them to do. Specifically, the medium-stiff flex makes quick and high-speed maneuvers all the more fun and satisfying.
To get the most out of the Cartels, I advise you to fit them on compatible snowboards with 5/10 or 6/10 flex.
Strap and highback settings
As expected of Burton, the Cartels have good adjustability. Indeed, they’d be flawless if I didn’t have an issue I happened to come across. Nonetheless, I’ll start with the good stuff.
I appreciate the ankle Hammerlock strap 2.0 on the 2022 Cartels. They offer up to three settings that ensure the bindings are firmly secured to your feet without triggering any pressure points. You also get to decide how they hold you—You can have them high around your ankle for a firmer fit. Or, you have them low for a freer experience.
Next, we have the 2-settings Supergrip toe straps. Likewise, you can have them snug or loose as per your preference.
As mentioned earlier, there is something I didn’t like about the Burton Cartel’s straps. I confirm that the ankle straps are perfect. However, the toe straps are a bit lacking. For some people, like me, they might not be tight enough. For some reason, they don’t grip down hard and will pop back up after you’ve tweaked past a certain point.
On another note, it was nice to see the single-component high backs on the Cartel bindings. Indeed, it seems like this year, Burton has worked on them. They now feature more ergonomic designs with contours that follow the right and left leg muscles.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to enjoy any of those new features. The highbacks weren’t generally as adjustable as I’d expected them to be. I didn’t like how I couldn’t fully align them with my calves. Sure, it’s not a “world-ending” problem. Nonetheless, I’d like them to have more adjustability.
The Burton Cartels are a breeze to wear and take off. A lot of it has to do with the improved racket system. All you have to do is racket up and undo the straps.
The Flex Slider is the feature that allows the ankle straps to slide out and remain open. Its magic lies with its strategically stretched hinging zone. On top of that, it’s also surprisingly strong and is less likely to break or fail.
Before the Flex Slider, you’d have to struggle with bouncing ankle straps that would annoyingly get in the way and risk you standing on them.
I feel we rarely give shock absorption the attention it deserves. It’s a feature that can easily elevate your snowboarding experience from “meh” to “great.” It’s specifically crucial for those landing jumps and jibs.
Most decent bindings have extra padding that absorbs the turbulence from riding through rough snow or ice.
The Burton Cartels have taken shock absorption to the next level. Honestly, it’s not hard to understand why since they’re built to handle anything the mountain throws at them.
They feature the ReFlex FullBED Cushioning System that ensures your entire foot rests on a B3 Gel underfoot. You’ll be amazed if you’re trying the Burton Cartels for the first time. Your snowboarding experience will generally be more comfortable and smooth.
Board feel (Butter-ability)
Ideally, you want bindings that bond with the board. They need to provide a wholesome and satisfying experience. Some bindings are terrible when it comes to this and make you feel like you’re riding a table.
Fortunately, I’m pleased to announce that the Cartel Bindings have good butter-ability. Thanks to the ReFlex technology, they can even make up for boards with relatively poor flex.
The Burton EST version offers even better butter-ability. Besides the flex technology, it’s generally more compatible and fits well with most boards’ channel systems.
The Burton Cartel bindings felt so good. There is something special about them that makes handling a dream. As mentioned earlier, Burton has done their best to ensure the bindings bond with the board.
The Cartels have single-component baseplates that reduce energy loss from foot to board. I loved its handling as I was making small quick turns. It was effortless, but with some degree of “groundedness” that didn’t make me feel like I was losing control.
This is where everything comes into play to give you a wholesome experience.
From what I’ve felt, Cartels bindings offer premium comfort levels. The ankle and toe straps keep your feet secured without triggering any pressure points. On top of that, the footbed is built with the rider in mind. Not only is it padded, but it’s also cantered with the outside of the foot harder than the inside. This structure automatically positions you so that everything is easier on your body.
In my opinion, their “comfortability” is commendable if you consider that they’re all-mountain-oriented bindings.
Burton Cartel Bindings History
In this section, we’ll briefly go through some of the most recent Cartel bindings and how they’ve evolved through the years. Sometimes new isn’t always better, and you’re better off saving the money and waiting for new models with more significant changes.
The 2017 Burton Cartels
In my opinion, it was in 2017 that Cartel bindings got closer to the “premium-level” bracket. The 2017 Cartels were the first to feature the new injection molded hammock ankle straps. On top of that, they also featured double-take buckles.
Compared to the 2016 model, I’d say the 2017 Cartels offer slightly softer flexing.
The 2018 and 2019 Burton Cartels
Appearance-wise, they were some noticeable changes. The Burton Cartels started to look more like the famous high-end bindings, Genesis and Genesis X. Additionally, the straps and buckles kept getting better. We now had the Gettagrip Capstrap that replaced the Supergrip toe straps.
Most importantly, I also noticed that the models from the two years offer increased butter-ability than their predecessors.
The 2020 and 2021 Burton Cartels
Once again, in 2020, Burton got closer to rivaling the top in the Binding industry. It upgraded the Gettagrip Capstrap to the new and improved Supergrip Capstrap 2.0.
In 2021, Burton kept most of the features offered by the 2020 model. However, the highback was now one single-piece component. Additionally, the new bindings were slightly cheaper than their predecessors.
The 2022 Burton Cartels
The 2022 model is similar to the 2021 bindings but with slight changes in appearance and color.
Generally, I’m impressed with what the Burton Cartels offer as all-mountain-oriented bindings. With these bad boys, you can explore any snow trail a resort has to offer.
Indeed, they are still some way short of the high-end bracket. Nonetheless, they offer noteworthy features at an affordable and budget-friendly price point.