Binding Model: Burton Malavita ReFlex
Binding Size: Medium
Stance and Angles: Goofy, 21in wide, 12/-6
Board Used: Niche Theme 157
Boot Used: Ride Fuse
Boot Size: 8
Rider Weight: 155lbs
Conditions: Cold slush warming to corn
Binding Adjustability: Straps are on tool less bolts that are easy to spin off and spin back on. Highback rotation is done through bolts on frame sliders. Forward lean is on a spin bolt separate from the rotation. The ReFlex discs have to be situated so the holes have micro forward/back adjustment so the binding can’t be micro adjusted for stance width.
Straps: The ankle strap is an asym hammock. It has a little bit more meat above the ratchet and below the mount on the adjuster side. The cross strut offers most of the support and the hammock does all the pressure distribution work. The toe strap shape seems a bit off. It’s a 3 sided box. It caused weird bulging over my toe. It didn’t end up slipping off and held my toe down fine, but was just a weird shape. The toe ratchet is the new Double Take and they force the ladders a little further away from the boot than traditional ones. This means that the ratchet gets pushed into the boot a little harder causing a little bit of pressure. The softer the toebox, the more you’ll feel it.
Ratchets: Double Take ratchets have a lot of climbing power on the spiral and are a lot less likely to strip. In the warm weather I didn’t get a chance to check icing, but I have had some friends get ice underneath the locking teeth inside the ratchet making them not lock down properly. Of those friends they only had the issue maybe once, but it’s worth noting.
Highbacks: The Hammock back and Hammock strap work together to wrap the boot in “suspension”. The hammock in the back of the highback grips the boot and actually lets you run your ankle strap a click or two looser without losing any lockdown. The highback itself is stiffer. Minimal flex backwards and stiffer torsionally. A very solid and supportive feel.
Binding Flex: The ReFlex frame acts a bit different than normal solid frames. The hinge in the middle lets the binding flex more side to side than the forward/back stiffness would suggest. More than anything it’s a more natural underfoot feel. It lands above a mid flex but not a full on freeride binding stiffness.
Ride: Natural feeling underfoot with good padding and natural canting. The AutoCant footbeds allow the medial side of the boot so sink in easier than the lateral side. I didn’t find it overly noticeable just cruising, but through chop and on harder landing it feels nicer on your knees.
Rider in Mind: High end freestyle riding everywhere on the mountain.
Personal Thoughts: The Malavita is quickly becoming the new go to binding in the Burton line and it makes sense. There really isn’t anyone that wouldn’t be satisfied with the Malavita for nearly any style of riding. I could put it on anything from soft park decks to stiff freeride ones and be happy. I specifically rode these and the Cartels back to back to get a direct comparison as Burton still claims the Malavita as the softer more freestyle oriented binding. The Vita has a 30% glass filled nylon frame compared to the Cartels 45% frame as well as a bit of a different shape. The Malavita frame definitely is a bit softer, but with ReFlex it’s less noticeable than the way the highbacks differ and the Malavita highback is definitely the stiffer and more aggressive of the two. Despite the frames in the real world the Malavita feels stiffer and more aggressive than the Cartel.
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This binding was loaned to us for review from Burton Snowboards marketing department.