If you’re looking at getting Burton bindings and aren’t sure about which type you should get – EST or Re:Flex, or are confused about the difference, then hopefully this post can clear up that decision for you.
This post is just going to be a quick look at which type you should choose, depending on the snowboard that you have or if you don’t already have a snowboard.
First let’s take a look at the difference between Burton’s Re:Flex and EST bindings, and then we’ll take a look at the different snowboard insert patterns to clear that up too.
Burton Re:Flex vs Burton EST
Burton have two different types of bindings (well 3 if you include their Step Ons but we’re only going to cover EST and Re:Flex here).
Their EST bindings are designed to only fit snowboards that use the “Channel” system, like Burton’s snowboards. EST bindings can’t be mounted on snowboards that don’t use the channel system.
Their Re:Flex bindings can mount on any snowboard with a 2 x 4 or 4 x 4 mounting system as well as the channel system. So, you can mount Re:flex bindings on virtually any snowboard out there, including Burton boards with the channel system.
Which Type of Burton Bindings Should I Get?
So, if you have a board that doesn’t have a channel system, then you will have to get Re:Flex.
You will also need Re:Flex (assuming you’re going with Burton bindings) if you want one pair of bindings to mount to both a Burton board and a non-Burton board.
If you only have a Burton board and don’t see yourself getting a non-Burton board in the near future, then EST bindings become an option. But you could still get Re:Flex if you wanted to. Typically EST bindings have slightly better board feel (though the board feel on Re:Flex bindings is really good to) and Re:Flex bindings have more shock absorbing qualities.
Stance Width Options
Re:Flex bindings on non-channel system boards offer less stance width adjustability than most other bindings. This is because with other bindings’ discs you usually have the option to run the disc holes vertically or horizontally.
If you run them horizontally, then it gives you more stance width options (though less adjustability in terms of getting your boots centered in terms of toe and heel overhang). Re:Flex discs can only be run vertically, so you can only adjust by 2cm increments per binding (on a 2 x 4 board – and only in 4cm increments on a 4 x 4).
So, if you have a 2 x 4 or 4 x 4 board, and you want to be able to have micro-stance width adjustments, you might want to consider another brand.
The Different Mounting Patterns
Snowboards have 3 main mounting patterns these days. If you have an older Burton board, you might have a 3D pattern, but otherwise your board will likely fall under one of these 3.
- 2 x 4
- 4 x 4
And even 4 x 4 aren’t that common anymore, particularly not outside of cheaper boards.
2 x 4 Mounting Pattern
This is the most common mounting pattern going around and is characterized by screw holes that are 4cm apart vertically and 2cm apart horizontally.
4 x 4 Mounting Pattern
The 4 x 4 mounting pattern has holes that are 4cm apart vertically and 4cm apart horizontally. This means less micro-adjustable in terms of stance width options. Also bindings with a mini-disc won’t be able to mount to boards with the 4 x 4 pattern.
The Channel system uses inserts that slide along a track, which the bindings attach too. This system allows almost limitless stance width options.
Choosing Re:Flex or EST bindings essentially comes down to the board you have or are thinking of getting.
- If you have a board with Channel System, then you can use either Re:Flex and EST. The choice comes down to whether you want more shock absorption or better board feel. You might also take into account whether or not you are likely to buy a non-burton board in the future (and still use the same bindings on it), in which case you might want to go Re:Flex
- If you have a board with a 2 x 4 or 4 x 4 mounting system, that you want to mount your Burton bindings to, then you’ll need to go Re:Flex
I hope this has helped with your decision and cleared up the difference between Burton EST and Burton Re:Flex bindings.
Related: How to Install Burton Reflex Bindings on 2 x 4 Board
Related: How to Install Burton Reflex Bindings on a Channel Board
I was wondering how the union mini disc compare to the reflex
in terms of response, board feel etc.
for a 2 x 4 board, which will be better for buttering? stability?
Love all the content, thank you for all the in-depth replies and reviews.
The discussion with Florian was also really helpful, thank you both!
For buttering/board feel I would say they are pretty even. It’s a different feel, but overall pretty even in how well you can feel the board and for butters, IMO.
In terms of response, I think it really depends on the model. Maybe overall the mini-disc feels a little more responsive. And I only say that because I find flex-for-flex that Union bindings (mini-disc or not however) tend to be a little more responsive, by my feel. But there are other factors involved too. And it really largely depends on the model. Like the Burton Cartel Re:Flex is more responsive, IMO, than the Union Contact Pro (which uses mini-disc) but not as responsive as the Union Strata or Union Falcor, which also use mini discs.
Hope this helps
Thanks Nate, that was really helpful!
this is the year i finally decided to stop with the rentals and get some gear.
thanks for all the great reviews 🙂
You’re very welcome Onn. Hope you have an awesome season next season!
I’m reading on this in 2020 of March 🙂
Love this website, had alot of good and interesting content for a beginner/intermediate snowboarder like myself! Thanks Nate!!
Thanks for your comments and for visiting the website
I just wanted to ask you why you think that est-bindings arent as shockabsorbant than the reflex versions? Shouldnt there be more room for EVA-material since there is only a small strip of hard plastic under your footpads and the rest is just EVA-foam.
So why do you think the reflex bindings are more shockabsorbant?
BTW thx for your detailed reviews
Thanks for your message.
There is thicker padding in the heel in Re:Flex models – which is, IMO, the most important area for shock absorption. The padding in the heel on EST bindings is quite thin. That thinness – and the fact that most of the footbeds is just foam, is a large reason, IMO, why EST models tend to have a little better board feel than Re:Flex.
Hope this makes sense
Thx for your answer.
Ah ok I didnt really realise that the padding was thinner on the Est models but looking at pictures it seems like you´re right.
On the other hand I see a problem with the reflex bindings and thats the mechanism to put your gaspedal forward. If you have to put it on the most forward klick like me there is alot of room exposed directly under the heel. Also this causes the EVA foam to wear away more quickly. The solution of the Est bindings seems way more logical.
This combined with the fact that the B3 gelpad on the reflex bindings is pretty much useless because it´s that small whereas its way bigger on the Est models. This lead me to believe that the Est would give me more shock absorbtion than my current reflex bindings.
I guess I will see soon enough since i just bought some Diodes and Cartels in the Est version.
I bougt both used and plan to build some frankenbindings for my burton powder deck.
Just like the reflex bindings I´m using now (Diode baseplate with Cartel highbacks and straps) beacause I´m not a fan of ultra stiff highbacks and the new ratchetsystem but i like the stiffer baseplate. I´m just not sure If i will keep the springbed of the diodes or replace it with the more cush sensorybed of the Cartels.
Could you test those out? Did you like them?
I guess I´´ll just have to test both out and build the bindings to my liking (the other one i will sell again).
I´m a little gear whore myself 😀
Btw thx alot for your great content here keep up the good work
Will be interested to hear what you think once you’ve got the EST models, compared to the Re:Flex. I don’t find that the gas pedal effects the padding in the heel. But yeah let me know what you think once you’ve had a chance to compare. Snowboard gear is addictive for sure!
I still owe you and potential readers a comment/review regarding the EST-and-reflex comparison.
I finally got to experience my EST-Bindings (Diode baseplate and Cartel highbacks/straps) on a custom X which bought a few weeks back. On my pow deck i didnt really notice a difference to be honest since I only rode that one in pow and very soft snow.
Unfortunately, I couldnt do a direct A-B-comparison since I didnt bring my reflex bindings with me but I am really familiar with the reflex bindings because I rode them almost exklusively for the last years. So which one is more shockabsorbant?
I really dont think there is much of a difference between the two.
Yes the EVA-Foam on the reflex is a bit thicker than on the EST but on the other hand the B3-Gelpad on the EST is way bigger and the footbed in general is bigger so more of your heel/your boots actually stand on EVA.
How does this transalte to feel? I really couldnt tell a difference maybe in a direct test where I would change bindings at the bottom of a slope. If I had to choose a “winner” though Id say the EST is more shockabsorbant and not the other way around. Its more the chatter absorbation which feels different though than the slow hard impact like hitting a knuckle, there I would say they are pretty even maybe the reflex has some tiny advantages? Idk…Burton bindings in general are really good regarding shock absorbation. The fact that with the EST-Bindings you really stand on pretty much just EVA-foam does reduce chatter at speeds a bit better if you ask me. This also translates to a different feel of the bindings overall. That being said I cant really put my finger on what exactly is different.
Maybe the hinge also contribiutes to this difference in feel.. idk.
What really did make a difference though is when i changed out the ordinary EVA-footbed with the springbed of the Diodes/Genesis X. That felt entirely different.
First and foremost there was a pretty huge gain in response when I rode with the springebeds. All my movements felt way quicker and more forceful, there was less energy lost in the EVA. So thats really a cool feeling. Unfortunately this resultet also in way less comfort and there were some pressurepoints emerging with this footbeds, simply because your boot has less room to move/push into the EVA-material. I guess thats largely due to the fact that my boots (adidas tactical ADVs) dont fit me a 100% perfect and the bindings just amplified the top-pressure-problem of the boots (yes its real and unfortunately it gets worse the more I ride the boots).
On a sidenote: I was really surprised to see that the EST size M is much bigger than my reflex size M. I have no idear why burton does that but its a quite signifikant difference. As I mentioned the footbed of the EST is way longer, the frame is also bigger, meaning the binding itself is longer, the heelcup is bigger/higher and also wider.
I would say with size 11 boots you would have no problems at all to fit into a size M EST, whereas with the reflex-version I would say depending on the boot brand it might fit but better check it out first.
On another sidenote: This also results in the EST-bindings being a bit heavier than their reflex counterparts. Thats mostly because theres just more framematerial.
They felt heavier on my feet, especially with the springbeds mounted that day the bindings(board) felt like an anker on my feet. With the EVA-footbeds it was better but still in another league than my union contact pros.
ESTs weigh aroung 900g(with the Springbeds mounted around 1kg)
union contact pros around 800(with discs and screws)
And yes you can feel this 200g difference!
Sorry about the confusion with the binding-weights.
I had the union contact pros with me that day and I could only A/B test with the unions, so thats why i stated their weight.
So the Reflex Version (also diode baseplate Cartel Highbacks and straps) weighs 840g with disc and 4 screws. The EST weighs 905g with 2 screws and the channel inserts.
65g aka 130g for both bindings doesnt sound like much but it definately feels different! I can even feel a difference between the contact pros and the burton reflexes and thats only a 40g aka 80g difference.
Its surely not the most imprtant thing about a binding but light bindings are just more comfortable and a light setup overall is more fun to ride, especially when you are doing freestyle stuff/messing around.
To put these numbers in perspective, here are the weights of my boards:
Capita DOA 155w: 2865g
Burton Custom X 156: 2865g
Nitro T1 152w: 2810g
Burton Uninc 158: 2845g
Burton Vapor 159: 2790g
So the boards weights are all within a 100g- window.
Even the mighty Burton vapor with its alumafly core, which claimed to be the lightest board out there is only 75g lighter than my heaviest board.
Ok its longer than the doa but the doa is also wider so I guess its almost comparable.
What i want to say is that a 100g difference PER binding has a huge impact on how light your overall setup feels (the boots are quite important too in that regard but you usually dont have the freedom to choose boots by their weight)
Thanks for all that. Super helpful stuff!
Yeah, I definitely notice the weights of bindings – even when it’s just a little bit. 50g is definitely noticeable, even though you’d think it wouldn’t be.
I’m actually relatively impressed that the Vapor is only 2790g, given that it hasn’t been made in a while. I’m pretty sure they stopped making it after 2013 – so I’m guessing you have the 2013 or earlier model? That’s pretty light for a board from over 5 years ago in a 159, compared to most of the boards that I have weighed. Now I’ve only been weighing boards from the 2019 & 2020 models, and I’ve certainly weighed some that are lighter, but I would assume that boards are getting lighter, so for back then, I’d say that’s pretty light.
I love the info on your site so Im glad that I could contribute to its knowledge.
Yeah the weight of bindings is definately more than just a gimmick/marketing.
Whereas with boards i feel the difference just isnt big enough to really be noticable ie I think there the weight distribution is far more important than the weight as a whole.
I had boards which just felt really light in handling but the actual weight wasn´t all that light afterall. For example I had a Slash paxson 156, which I thought was the lightest board I ever owned – at least it felt that way when I rode it.
I was really surprised to learn that it in fact wasn´t really that light with 2890g.
I got the 2011 model of the vapor, the last one which actually had the alumafly core, after that season burton went with wood again instead. I was kinda disappointed because I was excpecting a way lighter board with all that marketing and reviews surrounding it. I did never ride it thought.
I bought it on ebay but I got kinda scammed, the board is in very bad condition with some really deep scratches and it was clearly stored without wax on so the base is pretty dried out. Of course the edges would have to be sharpened as well but thats not a big deal. I just wasnt really willing to invest the money to have it fixed professionaly.
So I cant tell you how it feels when riding although I would love to try it, maybe i still get it fixed idk…
But yeah Im not really impressed with the weight at all since the closest in size to the vapor, my burton uninc only weighs 55g more. It thankfully is still in pristine condition, its a 158 with about the same width, and this board is from the 2006/2007 season!!!
The uninc is still my favourite all around board to ride and I would say I think its the best made/durable board I ever had (and I already had 2 models of it back in the day, they both lasted me very long).
So I argue that board technology didnt change much at all in the last 10-15 years. Shapes, bends and flex-patterns and some features yes but not the actual processes and materials which the boards are made of.
Now Im curious though which boards you weighted which are lighter? 😉
To me its just that if it takes such a complex construction (alumaflycore, carbon topsheet etc to shave off ~50g of a board, Idont think its worth it. I guess one´s better off with buying lilghter bindings because the range of the weight difference between brands and models of bindings is far bigger and the weight distribution isn´t really a factor either.
Yeah I agree. I often ride a board and think either “this feels heavy” or “this feels light” and then I’m often surprised when weighing them that they’re sometimes the opposite of what I thought. Lots of factors can affect how heavy they feel to ride vs how heavy they actually are.
The lightest boards I’ve weighed are Capita boards. They tend to be consistently lighter than most others. But it’s hard to really accurately measure without having surface area stats too. I tend to take the overall weight and divide by length to get a “weight per cm” figure. But that’s not overly accurate due to different widths, different tip and tail shapes etc. Would be nice to get surface area stats and be able to compare by doing a “weight per surface area” calculation. But Never Summer is the only brand that I know of that show surface area stats for their boards. The lightest 2020 board I’ve weighed so far is the Capita Asymulator 154 which is 2560g – 16.62g/cm. In comparison to your Vapor 159, which is around 17.5g/cm.
Yeah I guess a lot of the feel has to do with the shape oft the tips and how much they slimmed down the tips to reduce swingweight.
Capita? Hmm thats interesting, since my DOA is nothing special on the scale nor is it in regards of feeling on the hill. Its specified as a wide although its only 258mm at it´s waist so I dont think the thinkness adds that much to the weight.
I have the model from the 2015/16 season though and as far as I´m informed that was the last season the boards weren`t built at capitas own new factory, the mothership, so I guess the production process changed there.
I`m not impressed with the built quality of mine though and since the weight of the boards built at the new factory got even lighter I don`t think that changed for the better.
That´s the thing with light boards, in my opinion they tend to be weaker.
If the manufacturers do some crazy “space-technology-shit” like burtons alumyflycore or nitros koryd-core or the likes, I guess the boards could, while beeing lighter still stand their ground against the traditional woodcore boards in terms of durability and response. I would still bet on the wooden design though if it gets though.
Anyhow with the new capitas for example, 2560g for a 154, wow thats really light!
Now I bet one can really feel that difference on the mountain.
But if there isn`t any “special” material built into it, I have to assume, that there is just simply less materialt in the board, which in my opinion leads to a weaker construction overall…
Of course thats not a general rule and I´m no engineer building snowboards but over the years I had my fair share of snowboards and the heavy bulky ones were always the ones which lasted the longest. I still like to ride light boards though 😉 and if can get them for relativly cheap I woulf still buy them…
On a sidenote: I was always quite interested in where the boards from different brands are made, since there is a significant difference in built quality between them. I found this very interesting article about it:
Where are Snowboards Really Made
It`s from 2014 though so if you feel your urge to do research building up it would be interesting to see an update of that list 😉
Yeah a couple of factories have changed since then, but definitely interesting. But yeah I might look into that and do some further research on it.
The DOA is actually one of the heavier Capita boards. Still light vs a lot of other brands, but heavy vs other Capita boards.