Gear of the Show 2015: Marker Kingpin
The tech binding to beat next winter
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Because they’re extremely lightweight and more secure than they look, tech-style alpine-touring bindings, which rely on two sets of pins to hold the toe and heel in place and require a special boot, have become the most popular style of binding in the backcountry. The trick has been figuring out how to build one that can also handle the day-to-day pounding of resort skiing. With the new Kingpin, Marker has potentially created one of the most versatile bindings we’ve ever seen.
While the Kingpin’s toepiece may look similar to what you find on other tech bindings, it’s built with six springs that supposedly offer better energy absorption and help prevent early release. (The new Dynafit tech bindings also feature a similar technology.)
The big change is in the heel: instead of pins, the Kingpin features the same click-in heelpiece as a resort binding for step-in convenience, stability, and power transmission. At 730 grams with a brake, the Kingpin is a bit heavier than most other tech bindings on the market, but less than a third the weight of Marker’s frame-style alpine-touring binding options (like the Baron and Tour). If it’s as good as some of the early tests indicate, it might very well be the first tech binding that we’d confidently ski all-day on both sides of the rope. Shipping this fall.