Most snowboard manufacturers still use a 4 hole disc system to attach the bindings to the board. That’s what I’ve been using for the last 20 years or so. It works well and allows almost 180 degrees of adjustment of your bindings. The downside is that it requires two large metal plates or some similarly stiff inserts to be built into the snowboard so you have 8 or so holes at each foot position to allow the bindings to be adjusted laterally as needed for each rider.
Burton has decided to move to a new system using a flexible channel and only two bolts per binding to hold it onto the board. This is good because it allows the board to flex naturally and is very easy to adjust if you want to move your bindings around – say to the rear for a big dump of powder. However, there are a few problems with the new system:
- you only have 2 bolts holding each foot to the board so a loose bolt is a huge problem whereas with the old 4 bolt per binding system it was not much of a big deal. Check your binding bolts every ride!
- the binding hardware is totally unique to Burton. If you loose one you’ll be screwed unless there is a Burton dealer close at hand. Definitely get two spare bolts/nuts.
- EST bindings have a limited range of stance angles for each binding [27 deg on the front and 12 deg on the rear foot]. If you ride high angles you are going to be out of luck.
- EST bindings can’t be adjusted for as narrow a stance as traditional bindings.
- EST bindings are not common so if you break a binding you can’t just throw another one on to get you through your trip unless it’s also an EST binding. There is a way around this by getting an adapter disc from your Burton dealer which it makes sense to carry with you on a longer trip just in case.
I’ve tried my Burton Supermodel with EST bindings and they just don’t offer enough stance angle adjustment and I can’t get my feet close enough to each other to be comfortable. I’m currently running 30 deg front/18 deg rear with a 19″ stance width. I’m using a traditional style Burton Mission binding with an EST adapter disc provided for free by my local Burton dealer. This gives me almost all the advantages of the EST system with nearly unlimited stance angles and a narrower stance width.
I should point out that for most new riders the EST bindings give more than enough adjustment since current trends in snowboarding are towards low stance angles and twin tip boards. So don’t worry about it unless you have been snowboarding for 10 years+ and want to run an old skool setup. I started in 1991 and at some points was running angles as high as 55 front and 45 rear!!