The Burton Malavita is their popular freestyle binding, but it is still an option if you don’t ride park all day. The Malavita does have some nicer features to go along with the higher price, but you might be able to get all the performance you need from a cheaper model.
How The Burton Malavita bindings Ride
I liked the idea of bindings with some nicer features, that didn’t have too stiff of a flex, just for the sake of it.
When these were brand new they had a few features that were fairly unique. They had the ankle flex slider, which let the whole ankle strap fold well out of the way when you are getting in and out of the bindings.
Even with the little tag on it that said it had a lifetime warranty, I was a little skeptical about how it would do in the cold. As it turns out, nothing has ever gone wrong with time (on any of my Burton bindings), and they now use the same slider even on the low end models.
This also had the (new for the time) double take ladders and ratchets. They ankle ratchets were noticeably more chunky than regular ones, but did have a satisfying click when doing them up.
Issues that I had with the Malavitas
In regular riding, the ratchets on your back foot get much more use than your front foot. Depending on how many laps you do without a break, you might be using the back foot ratchets 10 times more than the front.
In some conditions (both warm and cold) I noticed that it wasn’t grabbing, and the ratchet would just slip up and down the whole ladder. It turned out that the spring for the bottom part of the ratchet lost its “spring”. I was able to fix it by putting a little bit of a scourer in the gap, to push the clip up and stop snow getting in.
That issue has been fixed on the newer versions of the ratchets, so it isn’t an problem anymore.
In general, I would still say that Double Take ratchets are a downside. Even if they technically can grab a fraction of a second earlier, who cares?
With specialised ladders and ratchets, they are going to be harder to find spares if you need them in a pinch. The performance difference – if any – doesn’t really justify making things harder or more complicated.
A good example is that they put these ratchets and ladders onto the super popular Cartel for a little while, before changing them back to the standard, easy and reliable ones that everyone else uses.
As for how the bindings rode, I have no complaints.
The overall flex of the bindings gave me enough support to handle the regular all-mountain riding that I do.
When I would be riding in the park, I would rarely ride anything bigger than large features, so these were all that I needed.
It doesn’t take a huge amount of effort to push these around, presses and buttering are made easy.
What boards are the Burton Malavitas Compatibile with?
With the Re:Flex disc, the Malavitas can be mounted on standard 4×4 boards, as well as Burton boards with the channel system. If you have an older Burton board with the 3D mounting system, you can buy the 3D Reflex disc.
There is also an EST version of the Malavitas, which are only compatible with Burton Channel boards. They use a different baseplate design, which is made to have a closer, or more natural board feel. If you only ride Burton boards, or don’t think you will ever need to put the bindings on a non-Channel board, then you can go for the EST version.
Boot sizing for the Burton Malavita
As a general rule, and one that I didn’t follow (or know about properly) when I originally bought the Malavitas, is to buy the smallest size you fit into.
At the time I was riding with size 10.5 ThirtyTwo Tm-Two boots. Although the medium would fit boots up to a size 11, the larges fit size 10 and above. My thinking was that the Tm-Two boots are fairly large/bulky, so I was better off in the larges.
The trouble that you run into when you have boots that are on the smaller size of the range in a binding, is getting the right positioning on the board.
In my case with the larger bindings, I had to set them all the way forwards to try and balance out the toe and heel. Unfortunately, even at the forward position it wasn’t as balanced as I would have liked.
- Comfortable but capable binding
- Nice medium flex
- No need for Double Take Buckles/ladders
Features of the Burton Malavita Bindings
Middle of the road flex, a good balance of support to flexibility.
Has a more asymmetrical design than most of their other straps.
Supergrip Capstrap 2.0
A nice toe cap/strap, that wraps around the toes well and doesn’t slip.
AutoCANT Fullbed Footbed
Some brands will make canted footbeds, which mean that they have a built in angle to help align your feet and knees. Often they are made in preset angles – 2 or 3 degrees.
Burton do it a different way, by putting softer material EVA on the inside of the footbed, with harder EVA on the outside. This naturally compresses over time, and lets you naturally get a small amount of canting, rather than a preset amount.
This is a small section that sits in the footbed, under the heel of the boot. It is made to help absorb impacts, and even in cold temperatures it stays soft.
Single Component Baseplate
The whole baseplate is made up in one single piece. Compared to brands with adjustable heelcups like Union and Nitro, with a metal heelcup that slides into a plastic baseplate. It is a simpler design, but it means that the binding position on the board (toe to heel) is controlled through the disc.
Re:Flex Mounting System
The Re:Flex mounting system is the standard option on Burton bindings. Where some brands use a mini disc to hopefully allow the board to flex more naturally under the bindings, Burton do it a different way.
They still use a regular or bigger sized disc, but it has a flexible line running through it, that is made so that it can almost act like a hinge, flexing with the board.
This basically just means that the highbacks are tilted, or matched to align with your legs.
This is the soft plastic wrap on the inside of the highback. Other than looks, I can’t see that it does anything at all for the performance of the binding – that the ankle strap doesn’t do itself.
Zero Forward Lean Hi-Back
At the default position, the highback has no forward lean, which gives a more relaxed position, more suited for park riding.
To adjust the forward lean, you spin the dial on the highback. This screw expands the gap on the highback, which gives it more forward lean.
Double Take Buckles
These are more complicated than regular buckles/ratchets, which mean that there are teeth on both sides of the ladders. The idea is that these buckles can grab the ladder a bit quicker than the regular style.
Lifetime warranty on the baseplate, straps and hi-backs have a one year warranty.
- Small (6-8)
- Medium (8-11)
- Large (10+)
US 6 – 8
US 9 – 11
where do the Malavitas sit in the Burton line?
- Medium Flex
- Re:Flex Disc
A softer flexing, all mountain binding. It looks like its big brother (Cartel X), and has the looks and name, but chopped back features.Read more
- Medium Flex
- Fancy straps
- Double Take Buckles
- Re:Flex Disc
Mid flexing park bindings, with some of their higher-end features.Find prices
- Medium/Stiff Flex
- Re:Flex Disc
A reliable, stiffer flexing all mountain binding.Read more