I wonder if that has anything to do with the EST versions, in which case the Malavita EST has the Hinge technology giving it more flex laterally for tricks and what not. It also sounds like from what I've been reading the Cartel has taken a step down in stiffness this year, but because of the confusion about it people are still thinking of it as the stiffer binding of the two.
Well, I guess I will give my $.02. Got the malavita reflex for $156, should be here monday! Only bindings I have to compare them to are 2011 union forces tho.