Binding Review: 10-11 Burton Cartels

19 Jan, 2011

Location: Mammoth, California

Snow Conditions: Hardpacked to icy groomers.

Setup: I rode the Burton Cartel bindings on the Burton Joystick with my Vans Veil Boots size 8.

Time to set up the binding: About average time to set it up but more so making sure the men’s binding would fit my female boot size.

Fit: I got into the size small cartels which worked fine with my bindings.  The binding fit to my boots felt fine, the highback height wasn’t more than my boot height and the straps I had to adjust but once I did, they were snug on my boots.

First Impression: The cartels are popular for a reason, they are responsive but yet comfortable.

Appearance: The cartels I rode in my opinion are pretty ugly.  I just don’t like the drab gray colors and I think the other colorways look a lot better than the one I rode.

Comfort: Burton definitely has comfort on lockdown when it comes to the high end bindings I’ve ridden, good padding in the baseplate on the cartel that helps absorb rougher riding and landings.  The straps are super comfortable to the boot and just mold well.

Functionality: The cartels have the EST system so designed to go on the ICS Burton snowboards.  The bindings are supposed to give you a better board to binding connection.  For functionality on the cartels, you can adjust the straps without tools which comes in handy on the mountain.  The cartels also feature a canted highback for natural alignment, living hinge to adjust rotation easily, removable sensorybed cushioning system, re-ground materials in the baseplate and highback to reduce waste.

Flex: I was expecting the stiffer highback from the last time I rode the cartels but this time it didn’t seem as stiff.  It was a tad bit more forgiving of a ride than when I remembered previously.  Still I don’t think of the cartel as a entry level binding, it’s definitely for someone looking for more response and stiffer flex to handle carves and jump landings.

Response: The cartels have been one of the more responsive bindings I’ve ridden, just right there one step ahead of you to get into the next turn.  They are quick to ride with the canted highback that is comfortably aligned to you but also quick for the next turns.

Toe Strap: The Gettagrip capstrap had no problem gripping the toe of my boot just like on the malavita bindings.  I rocked them with my Vans size 8 boots, no issues in how it stayed tight and keeps you pulled back into the binding.

Overall Impression: The  cartels dominate hands down for men’s responsive bindings.  For a more aggressive rider looking for a binding that can handle the jump landings to the freeriding carves, this binding does it.  The straps are traditional but comfortable and the functionality of the binding is there.

Shay’s Honesty Box: I’ve warmed up to the cartels since I first rode them years ago, they are that stiffer responsive binding for men that just dominate. Last time I probably wouldn’t have spent all day riding in them and now I would. Upgrades has been made since the last time I rode them and I thought they were a great match for the joystick.

Ready to buy? Head over to evo for the Burton Cartels or shop their full line of Burton snowboard bindings

On Snow Photos

Burton Cartel Description


Review Disclosure: I rode these bindings at a Burton demo day.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. January 19, 2011

    I hear they’ve somewhat shortened that “Team Skyback II” that used to be like the tallest highback in the business – any truth to that? I love my Cartels but certainly understand why a lot of people were off-put by those highbacks and the insane amount of forward lean. I’m thinking that a slightly shorter highback might make them have a tad softer/more forgiving feel.

  2. Dougg
    January 19, 2011

    Last Cartels I had the forward lean ripped out on the highback and Burton wouldn’t do anything. Thus the reason why I only ride Unions now.

  3. Michael S.
    January 19, 2011

    I love the Cartels ESTs. As for the highback and forward lean… just buy the Burton Lowbacks -$40 and swap them out. They eliminate the standard Burton forward lean so it’s at 0*, and they are only like 1/3 shorter than the highbacks. They are great on the Cartels.

  4. zakk the bear
    January 19, 2011

    Just wondering if there is anyway to get rid of the Burton “gas pedal” on these? I’m looking for a really responsive binder for my Jones Hovercraft and I’m not digging a lot of option out there. I like what I hear on the Cartels but the gas pedal drives me nuts…

  5. JL
    January 19, 2011

    David Z:

    Yea, the new Cartels have the old P1 highbacks. IMO a very good move…the old skybacks were just ridiculous….I had them…sold them.

  6. jwp
    February 05, 2011

    i’ve been thinking about purchasing either the the burton cartels (non EST) or the rome 390’s or 390 Boss’ to go with my my YES GDOH board in 149. They seem pretty similar to me but i noticed that you reviewed both models and was wondering if you had any preferrences. any feedback would be appreciated.


  7. September 05, 2011

    JWP, Cartel’s are more aggressive than the 390’s which are a softer flex. Cartels are stiffer, more responsive. Depends on your personal preferences.