Expert Review: Burton Cartel X EST Snowboard Bindings · 2022Published on 11/29/2022 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the bindings, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
Slushy day jibbing with the Cartel X EST. All photos courtesy of Taylor Freeman
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the bindings, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
The Burton Cartel X EST is a solid, reliable binding that caters to the advanced rider looking for responsiveness and performance. The EST version provides great board feel and shock absorption for a comfortable ride.
About the bindings I own
- Model: 2022 Burton Cartel X EST
- Size: Medium
- Burton channel compatible: Yes
- Mini disc: No disc at all—EST version has a side-mounting system for the Burton channel and Sensorybed gel cushion footbed that provides ultimate comfort and board feel with full cushion underfoot.
- Height: 5’8”
- Weight: 145lbs
- Experience: 20 years of snowboarding
- When I bought these: December 2021
- Days tested: 60+
- Board: 2022 Burton Free Thinker
- Boot: 2021 DC Mutiny
- Where I’ve used it: Kirkwood, Heavenly, Squaw Valley CA; Wolf Creek, CO
- Terrain: Groomers of all difficulty levels, terrain parks of all difficulty levels, mogul runs, tree runs, chutes, and cliffs
How they perform
What I was looking for
I was looking for a new binding that was stiff and responsive and compatible with the Burton channel. I needed it to be my high-performance binding for riding aggressive terrain and hitting big jumps. I wanted something stiffer than the medium-flex bindings I was riding previously.
Why I chose this gear
I chose this product because I love the solid plate highback, which is very strong and responsive, along with the rubber heel hammock inside the highback, which grips onto the back of my boot and keeps me locked in. The EST version also piqued my interest due to the full-cushion footbed with no metal disc underfoot. I considered the Union Force, but since I ride a Burton board, it made the most sense to go with EST because it was designed specifically for the channel system.
What I love about them
- Binding adjustability in boots: The binding straps have great adjustability and it is easy to get a perfect boot fit. Both straps have strong sliders with six holes for over two inches of adjustability to get the perfect strap length.
- Stance adjustability: The stance adjustability is the best thing about EST bindings because the channel system allows me to set the binding at any desired angle. I’m able to quickly adjust on the fly by loosening the channel screws and sliding/rotating the binding to the desired position without taking it out of the channel.
- Comfort: The full-cushion footbed with no metal disc underfoot provides the most comfortable ride I’ve experienced. The straps are also shaped nicely and fit on the top of the boot without pinching.
- Shock absorption: The full cushion footbed absorbs a lot of the shock that I normally felt with other disc-mounted bindings and makes for a much better-feeling ride. The padding inside the highback also absorbs a lot of shock when getting heelside chatter.
- Responsiveness: The solid high back makes heelside carves feel powerful and effortless. The stiffness makes them respond quickly to the boots being pushed back to go heelside. The straps are nice and strong and form fits to the boot so well that initiating toe turns is a breeze. I can carve hard and get low without feeling any lack of energy transfer and it always feels like I’m locked into the bindings.
- Carving: I love these bindings for carving due to the quick response they give and the strength and stability they provide. I feel like I can cut into the snow powerfully instead of having chattering, bumpy turns.
- Ease of turn initiation: Turn initiation is quick and effortless. The response of these bindings is so fast that I find myself being able to tune down the amount of effort I have to put into each turn.
- Durability: These are strong, solid, well-made bindings that can take a beating. Mine still look almost new after 60+ days of riding. I have ridden them in hardpack and icy conditions as well as taken them off jumps and put them through some crashes. They have held up amazingly.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Weight: The only issue I have with these bindings is how heavy they are. I could have compromised on responsiveness for a lighter-weight binding.
- Buttering: They’re not the best binding for buttering, as they are very stiff and solid. I’d prefer a more flexible binding for butters.
Favorite moment with this gear
The first time I was able to ride steeper terrain in deep snow with these bindings, I realized the potential they opened up for me to control my board aggressively in deep pow. I could turn the board a lot faster and more effectively than ever before. I also instantly felt the strength the bindings had to take all the pressure and impact I could throw at them. Getting these bindings was a true game changer and it allowed me to push my riding much harder.
Value for the money vs. other options
The Cartel X is a very valuable binding that performs above its price tag. It is comparable to other high-end bindings such as the Burton X and the Union Atlas FC, but for much cheaper. This binding is a huge bang for the buck and offers high-end performance at a mid-level price.
The responsiveness and performance these bindings provide allow me to make the board do exactly what I want it to do. They make the snowboard feel like an extension of the body that is completely under control.