Burton Cartel

*This review only applies to the 2020 and earlier Cartel*

The closest similar binding to what I own and reviewed is the new Cartel X. so just treat this review like it is the Cartel X.

The new 2021 Cartel (although cheaper it is basically a Mission). Don’t get fooled by the name, the new Cartel has a softer baseplate, downgraded toe strap, they removed the AutoCANT footbed with B3 and gave it a plain cheaper one. It keeps the name and the look, but not the features.

Original Review Below

Probably the most well known and tested binding in the Burton range, the Cartel has been around a long time, and is the main choice for a do everything, stiffer flexing binding.

There are two versions of the Cartel: the Re:Flex and the EST versions. The Re:Flex is the normal one, and most of the time it wouldn’t actually even be mentioned, although the full name is the Burton Cartel Re:Flex. The regular, or Re:Flex version comes with two sets of discs, which let you mount it to regular boards with a 4×4 hole pattern (almost every board), as well as some channel discs that let you mount it to Burton boards with the Channel mounting system

The other version of the Cartels is the EST version, which can only be mounted on Burton Channel boards. They claim that you can get some better board “feel” out of the EST versions, but then you are locked into having bindings that will only ever work on Channel boards. Seeing that they make a version that is compatible with everything, why wouldn’t you choose the Re:Flex?

Features of the Burton Cartel Bindings

Stiff flex

Single-Component Baseplate Construction

45% Short-Glass / Nylon Composite Lightweight

The version that uses Re:Flex discs, that mean the bindings are compatible with regular hole pattern boards, as well as Burton Channel boards.

burton cartel reflex disc
These are mounted on a regular hole pattern Capita board, but there also are the Channel disks (not pictured) that will let you mount these bindings on Burton Channel Boards.

Single-Component Hi-Back Construction

Zero Forward Lean Hi-Back
With a more relaxed default setting, the bindings don’t force you into an aggressive position unless you want them to.
burton cartel highback folded down

Zero Forward Lean Hi-Back
With a more relaxed default setting, the bindings don’t force you into an aggressive position unless you want them to.
burton cartel highback folded down

FLAD stands for the Forward Lean ADjustment, which is a little dial that you can spin, and it adds angle to the highback. The more angle or forward lean you have on your highback, the easier and quicker heelside turns are, but it is harder work on your legs.

burton cartel dial flad forward lean adjuster
The little + and – indicate which way to spin the dial whether you want more or less forward lean.

Hammockstrap 2.0

An injected design, which has a soft and comfortable mesh design, with a stiffer spine that gives the whole strap extra support.

burton cartel hammockstrap 2
The majority of the ankle strap is a softish plastic, the spine that runs over the center of the strap is much stronger.

Supergrip Capstrap 2.0

A grippy, comfortable strap that wraps nicely around the toe of your boot.

burton cartel supergrip capstrap
You can just see the two materials they are made of, with the softer rubber material and the stronger and harder outside.

Smooth Glide Buckles

burton cartel ankle ratchet close up
They are buckles/ratchets, they tighten easily, don’t slip and are easy to take off.

Re:Flex FullBED Cushioning System

AutoCANT FullBed

The inside of the footbed has a softer EVA material, while the outside is harder, which means that over time it adjust to give you a subtle angle, rather than locking you into a specific angle.

burton cartel autocant footbed
You can start to see here how my boots are slowly changing the footbed angle, especially on the softer inner (right) side

B3 Gel

A squishy material, that is designed to deal with the impacts of rough riding, as well as not losing its squishiness in cold temperatures.

burton cartel b3 gel
The squishy grey gel section, that is made to stay squishy in cold temperatures

Sizes Available:

  • Small (6-8)
  • Medium (8-11)
  • Large (10+)

How The Burton Cartels Ride

I bought the Cartels as a step up (in stiffness) from my Salomon Districts, so that I could get a bit more response and support, especially when riding faster.

If you play with the Cartels in the shop, you might see that the highbacks have a fair bit of torsional (twisting) flex, but that seems a bit misleading, when you are strapped in, they are definitely stiff, and quite responsive heel to toe.

Setting The Burton Cartels Up

Although they aren’t hard to set up, there are a few important things that will make quite a difference when you ride. Getting the toe/heel overhang even is the most important thing, and because you are limited to pointing the discs in one direction, there are 3 settings, centered, forward and backward. For me with the US9.5 Salomon Launch Boa boots the discs were set all the way forwards, which made the toe and heel almost exactly the same.

Once you have worked out the position on the board, you can pull the footbed forward so that it supports all the way under your toe (you can adjust it while the bindings are mounted to the board.

Adjusting the ankle and toe straps are easy, you can flip up the cover and loosen the screws by hand, and slide it up to a new hole and tighten them again.

burton cartel toe adjustment
You don’t really need a screwdriver to adjust the position of the toe cap, just flip the cover of the screw up, and loosen it, change position and tighten it by hand again. They are quite strong.

If you want to adjust the highback rotation, you will need a screwdriver and loosen them just enough that you can wiggle the highback around to be aligned with the heel edge of the board. I don’t have very aggressive angles when I ride, so I don’t bother rotating the highbacks.

burton cartel highback rotation
If you were going to adjust the rotation, loosen the screws at the bottom (on both sides), and wiggle the highback until it is straight with the heel edge of your board.

Same with the forward lean, I prefer a more cruisy feel, but if you do like to ride with more forward lean, you just need to spin the little adjuster.

burton cartel highback
It takes quite a few spins of the adjuster at the bottom to make a difference in the forward lean.

Once setup correctly the first time, the straps are easy to get on, quick to tighten and never move. The mesh style ankle strap didn’t give me any pressure points at all through my boot, and the fit was very good, it fits very neatly around my boots. Same with the toe cap, as well as fitting tightly around the toes of the boot, it never slides around at all. Although the lower spec Burton Mission has the same look toe strap, it seems that it is made from the same mould, but in one firm plastic, while the Cartel version is a combination of firm plastic and rubber for a better grip.

burton cartel supergrip capstrap
The toe straps fit very nicely around my Salomon boots, so far they have never slipped.

As for riding, they have a very locked in, direct feel. There hasn’t been any time where I have felt that there is any slack, or play between when I move my feet, and it getting to the board.

Through rough and lumpy terrain, they give enough support that I can just rest on my boots and let the bindings and the board do all the work, they easy have enough stiffness to handle everything I would need them to do.

Overall, they are very reliable, supportive bindings that I would easily be able to recommend for someone looking for a binding that is going to be able to handle riding everywhere.

A few years ago they had the DoubleTake ratchets with the angled ladders, but they have since changed back to the much better original design, which means that if you ever were to have to replace them, you can use almost any brand of ladder to get by, and the ratchets are easily removable.

MEN’S BOOTS SIZE6-88-1110+
EURO BOOT SIZE38-4141-4443+
UK BOOT SIZE5-77-109+
MONDO BOOT SIZE24-2626-2928+

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2 thoughts on “Burton Cartel”

  1. I am looking at getting these or the Missions, I ride everywhere, I like to go in the trees when I can, but only when the snow is good. Are the Cartels worth the extra price for the riding I want to do?

    • In the last couple of years the Mission have gotten a few of the Cartels older features, so they are much more similar now than they used to be. They have the same style ankle strap, and a toe strap that looks (and works) the same, but is just made from a cheaper plastic. Other than the Autocant footbeds, the main difference is the flex, and the price.

      If you aren’t going to be riding hard too often, the Missions will save you some money and still get you the majority of the features, just with a slightly softer flex.