The Burton Cartel Re:Flex is is one of the most well known and versatile bindings out there and I find myself recommending this often. It works well with a wide variety of boards.
The 2016 Burton Cartel is very similar to the 2015 except it has new straps that are the same as the Genesis, Malavita and Diodes. So the double straps trickled down so it doesn’t really change the ride but just makes the straps a little easier to use.
The 2015 Burton Cartel has the same high back and base plate as it did in 2014 and 2013 but it’s got a new ankle strap from the 2013 Cartel Limited that we loved and a strap band that bends out so it’s easier to put your bindings on. It’s also got a little more foam padding on the bottom of the base plate.
It’s kind of daunting to figure out which model is right for you but hopefully we can help you sort it all out. This review is of the Burton Cartel Re:Flex which is the most common and most recommendable model year in and year out. Sometimes they release a limited model that’s more recommendable but for the most part this is the binding. The Cartel
Riders– Almost all of us
Boards– More than I can think of
Conditions– Every kind we as a crew have experienced
Boots– Salomon, Burton, Ride, Rome, Nike and so many other companies.
Size Medium Weight: 3.8lbs
Regarding Re:Flex Tech: Re:Flex Tech really changes the way the board rides for the better but it has 1 issue. Most 4 hole Discs can be aligned tip to tail or heel to toe but the Re:Flex Disc can only be aligned heel to toe. This isn’t a big deal because most align heel to toe but some like to turn their discs side ways to reduce or increase their stance width might be disappointed. If you do this make sure your board has the stance width you desire.
Adjustability: No binding except for other Burton models are as adjustable as these. Almost any way you want these bindings tweaked, it can be done. The high backs have a very easy forward lean tool that won’t slow you down if you need to make a quick adjustment. The ankle strap offers three different positions that go from super tight to super freedom. The toe strap has two positions. The toe of the base plate also is quite adjustable. The best part of this set up is the way you can rotate the high backs to line up with the board; most bindings only have three positions, but Burton has a sliding adjuster that allows you to adjust to 21 to -21 degrees so you can really dial it in. There isn’t much difference in terms adjustability when it comes to the Cartel bindings. The only binding that has a slight advantage is the EST models, as it offers more stance/angle options on the board, but binding to boot is the same.
Comfort: The straps are right up there with the best without sacrificing performance. The ankle strap has evolved over the years as you can see above. The sub 2013 models have a smaller ankle strap but the 2013 and 2014 Burton Cartel upped the size offering a very supportive but very comfortable grip. It’s tapered down a lot center ankle which makes it less likely to bite. The heel loop fits most boots very well. It feels supportive and rarely ever bites into the side. Burton has worked well with their boots and seem to understand how many others work as well. The foot bed is very soft and comfortable. The 2015 Ankle strap is just as comfortable as the 2014 but it’s just thinner. Actually it might be a shade more comfortable.
Heel-Toe Response: When you want to be somewhere these bindings won’t make you work too hard to get there. It provides a smooth response that can be a little deceptive. You think it’s not that responsive but it continues to perform even with stiffer flexing boards. We all prefer the Cartels with boards around the mid flexing range but they work well with softer and stiffer boards as well. The high back provides a nice smooth balanced turn from heel to toe that many will appreciate.
Tip-Tail Response– Re:Flex tech combined with the supportive ankle strap really makes it easy to butter and press the board. The ankle straps large outer part provides good leverage and the Re:Flex allows the board to flex pretty naturally under foot. The 2014 is just a very tiny bit better than the 2013 because the toe ramp now has EVA foam on the bottom where the 2013 had a plastic on the bottom. It’s almost not enough to notice. The 2015 is the same as the 2014.
Boot Support: Very good support. There is just a little bit of give because of the really soft shock absorbing foot bed but other than that you feel secure and supported.
Ratchet System: Burton has some of the best strap system out there. It’s incredibly smooth and holds well. You can crank it down as hard as you want and it holds very well. It works for a long time and rarely if ever get’s sticky. This is seems the same from 2015-2013.
Shock Absorption– The Cartels do very well at high speed and don’t allow much of your board’s chatter to pass through to your feet. They have added gel cushioning in the middle of the EVA foam in the heel, which makes for one of the best rides when it comes to shock absorption. Overall we are always impressed with the Cartel line. No binding is 100% perfect, but these are almost always pretty close. Some companies get more of a locked in feel/more response with a harder foot bed but most of us here prefer the cushioning and damper ride instead. I personally would rather have a smoother ride and preserve my knees/hips/ankles so my body won’t fail as fast.
So in conclusion the Burton Cartel 2013 is for sure the way to go unless you can find the Cartel Limited Re:Flex. This is hard to find so if you can’t be happy with the regular cartel.
Burton Diode vs Genesis vs Cartel from thegoodride.com on Vimeo.
Burton Cartel 2014-2013
There is one common element in all the 2013 and 2014 Burton Cartels and that is the new high back. It has a much more asymmetrical flex than the 2012 model’s high back. It’s stiffer on the inside and softer on the outside, giving you just as much response as the 2012 model without the unnecessary stiffness. There is also a hollow plastic Toe plate with eva foam on the top. Last year it had EVA foam on the bottom a little thin plastic middle and EVA foam on the top. The best thing is the larger ankle strap that offers more support. Most of us like this especially when it comes to edge to edge response. If you like more freedom of movement you might enjoy the Cartel Restricted Re:Flex better.
For 2014 The Cartel only comes with 4 models and in 2013 it came in 6. There is the Burton Cartel, Cartel Restricted, Cartel Limited (sadly discontinued for 2014), Cartel EST, Cartel Restricted EST or Cartel Limited EST (discontinued). This review below is for the most common model the good old Burton Cartel with Re:Flex Tech that works with any type of board.
Nothing really changed for the 2014 Burton Cartel Re:Flex which is uncharacteristic of Burton. The only thing different this year is the toe ramp is soft on the bottom as well as the top where the 2013 was a hard plastic on the bottom and soft EVA foam on the top. Is there much of a difference? Not really at all. Just a little tiny bit of a more easy tip to tail flex but it’s very hard to notice.
2014 Binding Comparison
Burton Cartel 2012-2010
2012 Burton Cartel Re:Flex– Has a new base plate (as mentioned above) and new high back. It’s a little more responsive than the older model. The 2012 Burton Cartel Restricted Re:Flex- The best choice to us because its underfoot flex is closest to the EST bindings, it can ride every board, and has a higher quality ankle strap that provides more support and leverage. Because of the ankle strap, we think it offers better overall performance than the Cartel EST bindings. We’d like to see the restricted and Re:Flex to be just one binding.
2011 Burton Cartel Re:Flex
There are a few changes for the better over the 2010 models, including a new high back that’s similar to the now-discontinued, long-running, and well-liked Burton P1. The Cartel also now has a noticeably higher-quality toe strap over last year’s iteration. There are five models, so we’ll address each model individually.
Re:Flex– A completely different binding than before. Re:Flex has a new base that allows a better flex underfoot that’s more similar to the Cartel EST – and it’s compatible with all boards, which makes it our choice for 2011.
2010 Burton Cartel Disc
Burton’s 2010 Cartel line includes two main models: The Cartel EST and the Cartel Disc Binding. The main difference between the two is that the EST has more natural flex under foot, but the Disc model fits all boards.
Flex– All Cartels share the same high back and with the exception of the Limited the same base plate. The flex with the non-limited is very middle ground and the 2013 high back is our personal favorite. The 2012 high back wasn’t bad and if you want a stiffer flexing high back you can still find it on the 2013 Burton Mission.
A quick look at How Re:Flex Tech Works