Expert Review: Burton Cartel

This review is my own honest opinion of the snowboard bindings, which I bought with my own money in January 2021.

Photo of Curated expert Benjamin Houghton

Photo courtesy of Benjamin Houghton

Published on

About this review This review is my own honest opinion of the snowboard bindings, which I bought with my own money in January 2021.

My take

The Burton Cartel bindings are the perfect balance between capability and affordability, and they feel completely at home in all-mountain settings. They are ideal for intermediate-to-advanced snowboarders and although they are not as adjustable or customizable as other binding sets, they are extremely responsive.

About the gear

  • Model: Burton Cartel Bindings 2021
  • Color: Black
  • Size: Large
  • Burton channel compatible: Yes
  • Mini disc: Yes

About me

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 170 lbs
  • Experience: 10 years

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: January 2021
  • Days tested: Eight
  • Board: Capita Mercury 2021 157 centimeters
  • Boot: Burton Rulers 2021
  • Where I’ve used it: Beaver Mountain, Utah, and Brian Head, Utah
  • Terrain: Powder, trees, terrain park, ice, groomers

How it performs

Shock Absorption
Stance Adjustability

What I was looking for

I had been using the 2013 Union Jib Series bindings for about seven seasons, so I knew it was about time I upgraded them. Being a college student, dropping huge amounts of money on snowboard gear isn’t really an option, so I wanted something affordable but capable. I ride all-mountain and love doing pretty much anything the mountain has to offer, so I wanted something with a mid/stiff flex that would be responsive on any terrain.

Why I chose this gear

I chose the Burton Cartels because I had heard so many positive things about them and they were in my price range. The mid/stiff flex was really appealing to me due to its all-mountain potential.

As someone who rode Union bindings for seven seasons, I was definitely a little biased toward Union when searching for bindings. Its Falcor bindings are awesome but were definitely out of my price range. I decided to look for something with a similar construction quality at a cheaper price point, which led me to the Cartels!

Close up photo of the burton cartel bindings

Photo by Benjamin Houghton

Close up photo of the Burton Cartel bindings

Photo by Benjamin Houghton

Close up photo of the Burton Cartel bindings

Photo by Benjamin Houghton

What I love about it

  • Comfort: These bindings are extremely comfortable. A lot of that is due to the Re:Flex FullBED cushioning system. The highback is one consistent piece of material, making it rest evenly along the leg.
  • Responsiveness: The responsiveness of these bindings is one of the first things I noticed when I strapped in for the first time. They feature Burton’s special Hammockstrap ankle strap, which molds nicely to the shape of the boot and covers a larger area than a typical strap. The single-component baseplate uses one material throughout, which reduces loss of energy from foot to board. This is really noticeable when making small turns or quick carves in trees.
  • Carving: Due to the responsiveness of the bindings, carving is a breeze on these things. The Hammockstrap ankle straps keep my heels and toes locked into the board, even on steeps. In the past, I would have issues with heel lift in my bindings when carving on steep groomers, and I would feel disconnected from the board on toe-side carves. I have never had that issue with the Cartels. I feel locked in on every turn!
  • Durability: I’ve ridden these things for full days in pretty rough and varying conditions and the bindings have not shown a single sign of wear and tear. After riding through powder, choppy ice, and taking some hard falls, the bindings are still in fantastic, near-mint shape.
  • Weight: These bindings feel super light for how all-mountain-oriented they are. Typically, bindings with a stiffer flex tend to become a little heavier. However, the Cartels feel extremely light.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Binding Adjustability in Boots: The highbacks could be a little more adjustable. They don’t line up perfectly with my calves and there is no way to shift them at an angle to line up correctly.
  • Buttering: Buttering on these bindings is not one of their strong suits due to their stiffer flex. The bindings are comfortable and responsive, but they typically don’t pair well with soft-flex boards and therefore are not ideal for buttering setups.
  • Hardware: When mounting the bindings, I did run into an issue where one of the screws kept coming loose. After a few runs where I tightened the screw at the end of each run, the issue was fixed and I haven’t had any problems since.

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite moment has to be a tree run I did with my sister at Beaver Mountain. There was a fresh coat of powder and we came flying off a steep groomer into an opening in the trees. Even at the speed we were going, I could immediately start navigating tight turns. I felt the responsiveness of the bindings kick in and was able to maintain the rush of the previous groomer while exploring untouched powder in the trees. It was awesome!

Value for the money vs. other options

I would say value is really where these bindings excel. When it comes to responsive all-mountain bindings, it’s common to find bindings over the $300 mark. The Cartels are a steal in terms of responsiveness and comfort for the price. If a rider wants more adjustability in a binding, a more expensive option like the Union Falcors might be a better bet, as the Cartels sacrifice some customizability to maintain their low price.

Final verdict

These bindings are the ideal set for anyone looking to explore every terrain a resort has to offer. The responsiveness and comfort make turns, stops, and ollies feel effortless anywhere on the mountain. For skiers looking for quality on a budget, these are the best bindings around.

Selling Burton on
Burton Cartel Snowboard Bindings · 2022
Snowboard Expert Ben Houghton
Ben Houghton
Snowboard Expert
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Written By
Hi there! My name is Ben Houghton and I am a 26-year-old graduate student who lives and breathes snow. I have been snowboarding for over 10 years and skiing on-and-off since I was 11, which has taken me from the small slopes of New Hampshire to the massive resorts of Utah. Beaver Mountain in norther...

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