Marker F12 Tour ReviewAugust 14, 2012
- Rock solid downhill performance.
- Easy step-in design, just like an alpine binding.
- Integrates the same new heel lifter as the Duke.
- Stack height off of ski.
- Need to remove binding for both climb and ski transitions.
The Marker F12 Tour is a lightweight version of The Duke and Baron. It will do the trick for most people who are still doing more downhill than uphill.
The F12 Tour is Marker’s lightweight version of the brand’s popular Duke and Baron bindings. While I think the latter two are solid designs, the Tour seems to be a little too light up for my taste.
For one thing, the size of the toe piece as compared to the Duke is smaller. This isn’t an issue in downhill mode, as everything is locked in place. The problem I notice is that when the ski is in touring mode and fully raised, the toe piece doesn’t make contact with the ski to make it stop before applying a great amount of torque to the front attachment (like when you suddenly slip backwards on the skin track). This can apply a large amount of force to the plastic at the front of the binding over the course of its use.
For those of you like me with a big foot, you might also notice a decent amount of play in the binding when side hilling. There is enough flex in the binding that the heel lifter will scoot out of its landing spot and sometimes even go flat.
Another minor complaint worth mentioning is how squeaky these can be in touring mode. While guiding, a client wasn’t able to rent skis, and borrowed this set-up from me. I found myself trying to keep as much distance between us as was safe.
The F12 does do a great job of still making you feel good on the downhill. After all, skiing is supposed to be a downhill sport! And stepping in, you feel the secure click that lets you know that the binding is engaged and ready to go. My opinion is that it is a perfect binding for someone of small to medium size looking to save some poundage on the Duke, but for more or less the same kind of downhill-focused use.