Ever since Burton came out with the cap-strap a few years ago, I had wanted a pair. A few of my friends had Burton bindings and said they were very comfortable and kept your foot in place better than the traditional over-the-arch straps which always seemed to pinch your foot.Last year, I noticed a crack in the highback of my old Drake SuperSport bindings — which meant it was time to dig in to my wallet and shell out for a new pair of snowboard bindings.
So I spent some time researching the various Burton bindings and eventually settled on the Cartels (the Burton Triad was runner-up). They arrived just in time for me to take them to Mont Tremblant.
Highback: Canted Living Hinge Team Skyback II. Be forewarned: this is the tallest highback in the Burton line of products (and probably in the Industry!) But for its height it is extremely adjustable. A dial in back can increase or decrease the forward lean, but since it has a pretty progressive forward lean in the first place, I’m not sure why you’d need more. There is a channel along the baseplate (encl.) that allows you to slide the hinge forward/backward a little bit.
This highback takes some getting used to, but eventually you’ll adjust your stance.
Strap: [Ankle] Primostrap; [Toe] Ultra Capstrap. Dood. Serious padding on these bindings. The ankle strap is ridiculously comfy, like you’re wearing nothing at all. And the Ultra Capstrap on the toe keeps your heel in place. Both straps are super easy to get into and out of, and Burton gave us a thumb-screw to adjust the length of the straps so they can be adjusted without tools.
Baseplate: Short-glass fiber, nylon with dual-density EVA and B3 Gel heel cushioning. Again, serious padding. The EVA all-around and the additional pocket of B3 Gel in the heel reduce shock on all but the sketchiest of landings on the iciest terrains. The nylon composite material means that this binding weighs next to nothing. Seriously, it is super-lightweight.
Flex: Stiff (7 of 9 on Burton’s scale). This is a very stiff binding, so even though it’s marketed as “all mountain” and freestyle, if you plan on spending all day in the park, you should probably get something else. I would recommend it mostly for all-mountain riders who don’t do a ton of jibbing. It will be fine on booters and kickers, and the highback gives you extra power for carving groomers.
Bottom line: Super comfortable, easy to strap up or adjust, the Burton Cartel is a great pair of bindings if they fit your riding profile, or if you have more than one board in your quiver and use something else on park days.
If the Skyback II scares you, or if you don’t spend as much time carving as I do, go with my second choice, the Burton Triads. They have a lower highback and are a little bit softer in flex.