Cartel vs Malavita – which one wins?

Picking a binding can be tough! They all look very similar and when you take a closer look at the specifications, you often get overwhelmed with fancy words that don´t really describe what´s in the package. So let me point out the differences between two of the best selling bindings in Burton´s range: the Cartel vs Malavita.

Burton Cartel vs Malavita



When you stick with Burton´s recommendation, …

… you can ride every binding they make in every terrain. Most of Burton´s bindings are quite close to each other when it comes to flexibility, so it really is down to your personal preference. However, some are more playful while others give you a better response.

The Cartel has a slightly more responsive set up while the Malavita is softer, more playful and freestyle orientated. Nothing is set in stone here but that already can help you with your decision – more response means a better set up for slopes and the backcountry while a softer binding is more forgiving in the terrain park.

Personally I like to see the Cartel as a solid all mountain binding that totally copes with days in the terrain park, too. However, if you are looking for absolute freedom, the Malavita definitely is one of the best bindings out there.


A great and unique feature on the Malavita…

… is the Heelhammock. This mash is built in the highback, wraps around your heels and locks them in securely – this extra support gives you the possibility to ride with your straps a bit more loose and get that extra tweak for freestyle sessions without sacrificing a secure fit.

They also offer a winged highback on the black/white version. This version of the highback gives you extra support on the outer side of your leg, preventing you from overpressing your tip or tail. Quite a specific feature and probably not needed for the majority of riders out there – but for some it can be a gamechanger! Like I said, it only comes on the black/white version of the Malavita. Not sure what I am talking about? Check out the image below!

burton malavita review

You can see that little extra piece that curves around your calves for that extra support you might be looking for.



EST or Re:Flex? …

… that is up to you. Both, the Cartel and the Malavita, are available with the Re:Flex as well as the EST baseplate. In case you hear that for the first time, I wrote an article about the differences between the two baseplates. The short version: EST bindings are specifically designed for Burtons very own mounting system and don´t fit on any other board. In return you get increased boardflex and bigger variety of stances. Click here to find out more!

cartel vs malavita



The differences in every single part of the binding


Mounting System

Same brand, same systems. You can get both bindings with the more traditional Re:Flex disc that fits on every board out there. In case you have a snowboard made by Burton, you might be interested in the EST version – check out this article to find out more about the differences between EST and Re:Flex.


The Cartel and the Malavita are quite close when it comes to their flexibility. The Cartel has a slightly more responsive set up, while the Malavita is a little bit more forgiving. The heelhammock on the Malavita gives you also the option to ride your straps more loose which of course results in more flexibility.


Cartel – 45 % composite material for more response

Malavita – 30% composite material for more tweak and pop


Cartel – one-piece highback with adjustable forward lean and a canted design for a natural stance.

Malavita – built-in mash that wraps around your heels to lock them in position as well as a canted design with adjustable forward lean. On the black/white version you get the winged highback for extra support that prevents overpressing.

You can ride every Burton binding with 0° forward lean if you like! No idea what that is? Click here to find out more.


cartel vs malavita


Cartel – a new version of the Hammockstrap, an ankle strap that is made of one piece and a material that stays soft in the coldest temperatures. That means great comfort while no stitches can become loose.

Malavitacomes with the asymmetrical Hammockstrap which is very similar to the one on the Cartel.  The difference is that you can switch them from the front to the back foot and vice versa. In that way, you can change from a more supportive to a more playful set up.


Cartel – Burton´s smooth glide buckles which slide in super easy. Solid, durable and do what they are supposed to do.

MalavitaBurton´s double take buckles featuring insta-click, the best buckles Burton has in their range. Special because they have two rows of teeth: One helical one that crank down your straps faster, one that holds the strap in place. Check out the video below to understand how it works.


Same same – but different?

Not really – lot´s of similarities but also many features that result in two different bindings.

With the Cartel you get one of the best selling bindings, not only in Burtons range, but throughout the market. Great performance for everyone who want´s a solid binding that copes with every terrain. Mount a Cartel on your board and you will be happy – lot´s of riders are.

The Malavita has some nice extras, but you have to shake out some extra dollars. If you like to spend time in the terrain park, the Malavita might be the better option or, generally speaking, you simply get a more advanced binding that tends to feel a bit more playful than the Cartel.

I tend to recommend the Malavita, simply because it is the overall more advanced binding that truly feels at home in every terrain. You style, your skill and the conditions may change – the Malavita got you covered.

The 2018 bindings are on sale right now at! Click the links below to get your own pair!



Check out my full-length articles about the two bindings, click here for the Cartel, and this way for the MalavitaI really hope this article helps you making your decision or at least provides some interesting and useful informations.

Please feel free to drop any questions or thoughts in the comments below, I will get back to you! Let us know what you ride, like and share if you want! 

Keep riding,


14 Replies to “Cartel vs Malavita – which one wins?

  1. Manny,
    Great article, wish I could have checked it out before the Olympics. Could have really messed with my son’s head by telling him about the Double Take Buckles and maybe a little about the bindings. I don’t board but I enjoy watching the events on TV! Thanks,

  2. I don’t snowboard, but this is a really great review on the necessary gear that one needs for the sport. I really appreciate how you break down the differences between both bindings. I feel like this review will help my friends find the bindings they are looking for.

    Really nice work,


  3. Well, that was some new information for me. It sounds well built both bindings with good features. And can be good for anyone, who want to have one of the best bindings as per their choices!!

  4. The Cartels look like they’d fit nicely! I’ve needed some new gear with the fact that snow season is around the corner here in Australia.

    Thanks for the great review my friend:)

  5. Hey Manny. Great post mate.
    I have rather weak ankles (I almost wrote week, sometimes I think that’s all the life left in them) so bindings are ultra important to me.
    Sounds like the Cartel would suit me because I am not that good so something that binds to the board would be the way to go.
    I’ll pop over to the two articles before pulling the trigger but wanted to thank you for helping me with a decision.
    All the best

  6. Hey Manny
    Just what I needed to read.
    My ankles are pretty shot so bindings are important. I’m not that good on the snow but I think the Cartels will do me just fine.
    I will check out your other 2 articles just to be sure but I think this is the way to go for me.

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