Ahhh, new gear, does it get much better? Yep, having that gear perform well for years and maybe still look decent too. The Tried and True Review highlights those awesome pieces of gear we have used, some for many years, while suggesting new gear from the same manufacturer based on our observations that will get you through a few more seasons.
Burton Cartel Snowboard Bindings
I am the type of guy who likes to have several different types of the same gear. I'm not content with just having an all-mountain snowboard, I like to have a board that will excel in the many types of conditions and terrain that varied weather and complex mountains present. However, snowboard bindings are one thing that has not fallen pray to this mentality. For several years now, I have equipped many of my snowboards with the tried and true Burton Cartel binding. Stiff enough to handle technical descents where power transfer is critical, but with enough flex to be comfortable lapping the park and pressing rails all day long. The best feature of the Cartel in my mind however, is its longevity. I have a pair of Cartels that have been on at least three different snowboards and are at least five years old. I go through a lot of snowboard decks and I really like being able to swap bindings around so there is less setup time and costs associated with new setups. Because of this, I continue to look to the Burton Cartel as a mainstay binding in my stash.
The Channel, debuting in 2007 on higher-end Burton snowboards, is a binding mounting system that affords riders nearly limitless options for stance angles and width. While I am generally not a big fan of proprietary systems (equipment functional on only one brand) in the gear world, I do think that Burton is on the money with the Channel and EST (Extra Sensory Technology) binding system. Besides the huge range of stance adjustability, EST bindings eliminate the baseplate of traditional snowboard bindings and allow the rider to feel the natural flex of the board much more acutely. The 2013 Burton Cartel with EST also optimizes rider comfort with ergonomically contoured Hi-Backs, matching the contours of the left and right leg. While many other binding manufacturers are doing awesome things, it is hard to argue that Burton does not make the most comfortable bindings straps out there. The React Strap is built to wrap constantly around the boot at the ankle while adding ultra-responsive padding making response time instant. Similar construction on the Gettagrip Capstrap makes your board respond to even the smallest adjustments whether using it as a capstrap or toe strap.
Sure the Channel and EST system are great, but there are a lot of fun snowboards out there from other manufacturers. This is why Burton also offers their entire EST lineup, except the Custom model, in their Re:Flex series. The Re:Flex series features all the same Hi-Back and strap technologies, but utilizes a different mounting system and baseplate for mounting their bindings to other snowboard brands. The Re:Flex series uses a reduced weight baseplate that is hinged in the center to match natural board flex and create predictable feel in various terrain.
If you are looking for a new pair of bindings for the upcoming season, give the Cartel some serious thought. The Re:Flex series will let you mount them to any board you may be using and you'll get top-notch performance, season after punishing season.