2016-17 Marker Kingpin Review by abetterski.com
Last year, Marker came out with the much anticipated Marker Kingpin, touted as the first tech binding with DIN certification. The Kingpin performed flawlessly on-piste and in the backcountry over the 3 days of testing here at abetterski.com.
Marker Kingpin Binding Review
DIN Specs: 6-13
Days Skied: 3
Skiers: Chris and Jen
Skis: Blizzard Zero G 85/95/108
Weight: 1460g w brake
Compatibility: Boots with tech inserts only
Alpine Skiing: We have to say it, the Marker Kingpin is a beautiful piece of equipment, the gold and black design, “traditional” DIN heal with rotational release, and 6 big springs to keep that toe tight in place…you’ll be sure to get comments in the lift line.
I am used to skiing tech bindings so it didn’t take me long before I didn’t think much about it, but if you are like most, switching to a tech binding will have you second guessing and easing in during your first couple outings. Don’t worry, the Kingpin is super confidence inspiring and it won’t take long before you are back to skiing it like normal. For alpine used, the step in heel mechanism was nice, easy and comfortable, but does require a bit more work when releasing, you have to release the heel and then the toe, annoying, but not a deal breaker. We skied the Kingpin hard on-piste carving at full speed, off-piste and over some small drops and jumps. The Kingpin never release early, or gave much thought to the abuse, the third day of riding, we took the Kingpin to the top of our favorite backcountry big mountain line. South facing, known for its variable conditions, powder up top, breakable crust below and any debris at the bottom, the Marker Kingpin did not disappoint, in fact we never thought much about the binding, which is exactly how we like it.
Touring: A stout touring binding has it’s tradeoffs, the Dynafit Beast 14 weights in at 830g where the Kingpin comes in at 1460g, both considered a free ride touring binding, but the Kingpin has the advantage of the DIN certified releasable heel. Walk mode was natural and easy to use, and switching from walk to ski can be done while keeping your skis on, which is a huge benefit over previous editions of Markers touring line. The heel piece slides rearward and out of the way in order to move into walk mode, other Marker tour bindings slide on a track in order to lock in and tend to ice up, we did not have similar issues with the Kingpin but we may want to keep an eye on this over long term usage.
Overall: This binding is going to be perfect for a back country freerider that wants the natural walk mode of a tech binding, but does not want to give up downhill confidence. Just remember that if you are going to need to pair this with a boot with a tech insert.