Marker Kingpin 13 Review

June 26, 2015
Marker Kingpin 13
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
86
Ease of Entry
7
Ease of Transition
6
Uphill Performance
5
Downhill Performance
9
Security
9

The Good

  • Heel piece is easy to step into
  • DIN certified (13 DIN)
  • Skis like an Alpine binding

The Bad

  • Transition sliders prone to icing
  • Difficult to transition with skis on
  • Awkward to step out of
THE VERDICT

This Kingpin 13 skis really well. Flipping between heel lift levels is a piece of cake while the ski-to-tour/tour-to-ski transition is really difficult on this binding if you don’t want to step all the way out of the binding. Although the weight is heavier, the freeride crowd will find themselves oddly at home with this tech binding. This binding is made to drive big skis that are popular with more aggressive skiers.

FULL REVIEW

On my first day of testing the Kingpin, stepping into the toe piece was an easy task and flipping between touring heights was a breeze with well designed heel lift levels. I am not a fan of the past Marker binding ski-tour/tour-ski transition systems, and the Kingpin didn’t do much to improve my opinion. While it is actually possible to move from tour to ski with the binding on, it isn’t easy—in fact, it is only possible for extremely flexible athletes. There was also significant ice build up around the frame that it made it difficult to slide without smacking with a pole.  

Stepping into the binding (in ski mode) feels just like stepping into a traditional alpine binding. This is my favorite part of the Kingpin: the standard alpine heel inspires confidence when clicking into the ski and it also helps the transmission of power on the way down. These bindings ski exceptionally well and handle speed beautifully. I tested them on a variety of terrain (steep powder lines, bumps, hard pack) and they performed well in all conditions. They are as close as you are going to come to an alpine binding while still having a tech toe piece. While I do not recommend the Kingpin for long touring days (due to their weight), they will be popular with short tours to access big mountain runs.

The “6-pack” of springs in the toe piece provides a loud and powerful snap in to the toe piece, but I’m not certain how much of a difference it really provides when skiing. 

The original release of these bindings had an issue with the toe pins falling out and this issue seems to have been rectified with the current run of bindings.   

 


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