Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: New York City, NY, USA
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It's quite mind-boggling the amount of variations in their bindings, isn't it? Limited, Restricted, ReFlex, EST @..@ It doesn't help that they mix and match parts from different bindings into other bindings...
When checking them out at the store, and you flex the high backs torsionally (i.e. by twisting them from the top with your hands), there is no doubt that the cartel is the most flexible, then the genesis, then the malavita, then the diode. However, when you try to flex the high backs back and forth (toe to heel side), then it's hard to tell with just your hands and not mounted on a board. This is where "real-life" testing comes to play.
I've found that the 2013 Malavita Reflex (non-EST) is the stiffest and most responsive edge to edge, then the 2013 Genesis EST, then the 2013 Cartel Limited EST. (I just ordered some last-year stock 2013 Cartel Reflex today).
I tried these combos with my boards:
2013 Malavita Reflex on 2012 Rome Artifact Rocker (which is a uber-soft rocker-flat-rocker butter/park board)
A decent combo and rideable, but the binding felt like it was a bit too much for the soft board. This season I'm going to pair the board with Cartel Reflex which I think will be a much better match.
2013 Genesis EST on 2013 Burton Custom Flying V (hybrid camber)
The perfect match! Very comfortable binding, good control for carving, yet flexible enough to be comfortable. It's a good all-arounder. Just like my new board, it's great at everything. I've never broken a high back (always put them down when getting on lift), but I do see what people mean about flimsy 2-part back that could break or separate if you're careless...
2013 Malavita Reflex on 2008 Burton Custom X (very stiff camber board)
Much better match than with my noodle stick. Very responsive and stiff, really works well with the stiff camber bomber board. It's also very comfortable. The ankle strap has a lot of cushioning and the back is very cushioned, so I can bomb runs all day long and it's very comfortable. I used to ride both feet in positive angles (like hard boot carvers), but I started experimenting with different angles last season, and I found that these bindings even with negative angle on the back foot is still easy to control (just had to rotate the high-back to be parallel with the board). Not sure if that's my ability to compensate for different stance or the binding, but the binding gives me confidence on this board. Very happy with this combo. I considered the Burton Diode or Ride El Hefe or used Burton CO2s, but they were very pricey.
(2013 Cartel Limited EST on 2013 Custom Flying V (hybrid camber))
I tried this combo for one day, and the bindings were not the right size (which is why I returned/exchanged them) so I can't say much about them. I think the Genesis felt more responsive if not about equal. It did have very comfortable ankle straps too.
Cliff Note Version:
Stiffness: Malavita Reflex > Genesis EST > Cartel Limited EST > Cartel Reflex
2013 Burton Custom Flying V 148 (Main)
2012 Rome Artifact Rocker 144 (Park)
2008 Burton Series 13 Custom X 156 (Carving)
2002 Burton Clash Camber 153 (Backup)
2013 Burton Genesis EST
2013 Burton Malavita ReFlex
2001 Drake F-60
Boots: 2005 Salomon F22