Burton Cartel EST Review

This is my review of the Burton Cartel EST snowboard bindings.

I’m a lifelong snowboarder who has been riding for decades. I’m also a certified snowboarding instructor in the Canadian system (CISA). I’ve used the Burton Cartel EST bindings and have first-hand experience with how they perform on the mountain. 

The Cartel EST is one of the most popular bindings in the Burton lineup. They have been around for years and seem to keep getting better. They give you high-end performance in a variety of situations and offer plenty of comfort along the way. 

This post will dive into all the details behind these excellent bindings. I’ll show you the construction and design traits that make them stand out in the snow while also highlighting what you can expect if you purchase these. 

Let’s jump in. 

Burton Cartel EST Overview

The Burton Cartel EST is a pretty sweet binding option for snowboarders who like to rip. If you are an intermediate to advanced level rider who wants to hit the mountain hard and not let anything stand in your way, these will help you accomplish just that. 

This model has been in the Burton lineup for years, and there is a good reason why – they are a highly effective option in a range of different situations that deliver high-level performance. You get all-around good performance, comfort, and value. 

The Cartel EST is marketed as an all-mountain binding. That means they are capable all over the place. From the terrain park to steep and deep freeride lines, these will provide you with the means to conquer it all. 

I like the medium-stiff flex that caters to power and response while still giving you enough flex to explore freestyle terrain or spend a day in the park. Sometimes, you have to trade off either freestyle or freeride focus, but these hit both marks exceptionally well. 

Also Read: EST vs Re:Flex: Which Burton Bindings are Better?

They have a quick response that shows off when you want to make fast and technical maneuvers. At high speeds, expect effective carving and power transfer, translating into control you can count on. 

On top of the excellent performance characteristics the Cartel EST provides, they also excel in the comfort department. The EST binding system is fully designed with comfort in mind and includes extra material underfoot that increases cushioning and shock absorption. 

The bindings have strong and durable construction that is built to last. You can beat these up and not worry about losing flex or having a strap breakdown. And in the off chance you do have a problem, they are backed by Burton’s solid reputation for customer service.

There are a few potential downsides to the bindings worth mentioning, even though the Cartel EST is an excellent option overall. These aren’t a good beginner binding, and they only work with Channel compatible boards, limiting your options when mounting a non-Burton board.

They still make for a very good value, and if you are looking for a highly effective all-mountain option with high-end performance, they are a great value. Relatively affordable and extremely capable, these are a recommended pick. 

Detailed Review

The Burton Cartel EST is one of the top bindings in the industry and is a personal favorite. They are a great option for experienced riders who want extreme versatility without compromising performance in the slightest. 

Performance

The Cartel EST is a more than capable all-mountain binding. They function at a high level nearly everywhere, and can be effectively mounted on all-mountain, freeride, or powder boards while still giving you legendary performance. 

The versatility they offer is top-notch, especially for riders who have demanding needs and like to go big. A medium-stiff flex gives you a really quick response and power transfer, which turns into excellent board control all over the mountain. 

On an all-mountain setup, the Cartel EST will give you high-end performance no matter if you spend a day chasing powder or a morning in the park. They can provide you with plenty of power while allowing enough give to remain playful during freestyle riding

On more technical lines and terrain, the bindings also hold up exceptionally well. I like the DialFLAD forward lean feature for freeride situations because this puts a natural bend in your knees that keeps you engaged while improving edge control. 

If you like a super soft freestyle feel, these might not be the best option. They are on the stiffer end, and that can easily be noticeable in the terrain park. I like the power and control that this offers, but it does limit play just a bit. 

Overall, these are a high-performance option that I recommend to nearly every snowboarder who is beyond the beginner level. They provide an adequate response in a vast array of on-snow situations. 

Comfort

These bindings also stand out when it comes to comfort. Burton has included many features that help promote a better fit and feel with the latest model of the Cartel EST. There is no tradeoff between comfort and high performance here. 

The EST binding system is well-known for offering superior comfort levels. If you are unfamiliar with this tech, Burton changed up the build of their standard bindings and included extra cushioning underfoot with the EST. 

They also have a SensoryBED cushioning system that uses dual-density foam to highlight the comfort and shock-absorbing properties of your feet. The Hinge baseplates work with this feature to reduce foot fatigue, no matter how you like to ride. 

Zero-lean canted highbacks are another feature that caters to comfort. These provide you with an ergonomic fit that allows your legs to sit naturally on your board. You can also adjust the forward lean angle to your liking. 

The Cartel EST is one of the most comfortable high-performance models I have ever used for being a stiffer binding. They give you the extra cushioning you need if you are going big, without compromising what they offer when it comes to performance. 

The Cartel EST is also pretty lightweight, which comes into play if you decide to use these for a backcountry setup. This might not offer comfort when you ride, but it certainly helps you are in the middle of a big uphill ascent.   

Adjustability

These also get pretty high marks regarding adjustability, although there are a few reported issues with the toe straps. Overall, you get a very solid hold, and some added adjustable features that are well designed. 

I’ll start with the bad first – I’ve talked to some riders who have issues with the toe strap. I haven’t experienced these issues myself, but the grip on this strap specifically can slip if you have a smaller boot. It’s not a big issue, but good to know about. 

A Hammockstrap 2.0 gives you a reliable and effective hold. This isn’t the widest strap around but still delivers stable support that won’t loosen up when you ride. The questionable toe strap is durable and features a minimal design. 

The highbacks of the Cartel EST are also adjustable, giving you the ability to change up your stance to adapt to various situations. This is a great feature that enhances the already great all-mountain capabilities of the bindings. 

Smooth Glide buckles are another nice touch that allows you to lock everything in place while still quickly getting into and out of the bindings. These are made with lightweight but strong materials.  

Value

I think the Cartel EST makes for an excellent value. They have a fairly average price point but deliver well-above-average comfort and performance. These make for a superb binding in a lot of different situations. 

If you are an experienced rider looking for a high-performance option that will still give you versatility around the resort, these are a great value. The medium-stiff flex and outstanding comfort can work well for most intermediate and advanced level riders. 

If you are a beginner or a freestyle-focused rider, these might not be the best value. They are too stiff for newbies, and this increased flex can also be an issue if you spend most of your time in the terrain park. 

Still, these are some of the best Burton bindings out there, and they come highly recommended. They’ll give you a seriously effective blend of comfort, performance, and durability that is very easy to appreciate. 

The Alternatives

There are plenty of snowboard binding models to choose from. If you want to look at different options, take a glance at any of these recommended alternatives. 

1. Burton Genesis

These are another high-end option from Burton that delivers exceptional performance and comfort for more experienced riders. They aren’t as stiff as the Cartel EST, so they can work better for freestyle forward lines. 

The Genesis comes feature Re:Flex tech that gives you a layer of B3 gel for added cushioning. They are very comfortable and come with a high level of effective shock absorption. They also have an adjustable highback.

2. Flow NX2 Hybrid

If you like rear entry style bindings over strap in style, check out the Flow NX2 Hybrid. These are another awesome set of bindings that give you quality performance all around and are very comfortable. They are on the expensive side but are made to last. 

3. Union Force

The Union Force is another one of my favorite all-mountain options. These give you effective performance in a wide range of situations and come in at an affordable price, making them a solid value. 

A Stage 4 Duraflex ST baseplate and Exoframe 4.0 strap make these bindings super sturdy and durable. 

My Verdict

The Burton Cartel EST is one of my favorite bindings out there and one of the most popular options that Burton sells. They will give you outstanding versatility and comfort and are a recommended choice for intermediate and advanced level riders.

About Lorraine
I'm a certified snowboard instructor. My first experience with snowboarding occurred at an indoor resort. One run had me hooked, and it has turned into a lifelong passion ever since then. I'm here to share with you some of the tips and advice I have learned along the way.

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