This second generation of Marker's popular Kingpin comes in stronger and lighter, making it a ski touring machine that can also take a beating at the resort. This is the one binding for both front and backcountry skiing. Bravo Marker on making a good thing even better.
The Backcountry Skiing Canada Team.
Over the years Marker has built up extensive experience in the alpine touring binding market. First with the success of their frame bindings the Marker Tour F10
and Marker Tour F12 and from there they created the hybrid Marker Kingpin binding which used a tech toe and more traditional downhill binding heel. Then last year Marker released their super-light-weight all tech Marker Alpinist 12 Binding. New from Marker this season is an upgrade to their wildly popular Kingpin binding which they are calling the Marker Kingpin M-Werks 12 Binding which we’re going to look at in-depth here in this review.
The Marker Kingpin M-Werks 12's combine tech and alpine to create a lightweight, high performing binding that does it all. Watch the following video overview to learn more.
Marker bestowed the M-Werks moniker on the latest Kingpin release, it’s as an alteration to their V-Werks name which adorns their lightest high-performance ski models. The M-Werk Kingpins are lighter and higher performing than the current Kingpin bindings and they achieved this by using plastic infused with 30% carbon stringers which allows them to increase the M-Werk 12’s overall strength while also reducing the weight. This technology has been borrowed from their Alpinist 12 Bindings which are the lightest bindings they currently make. Weighing just over 300 grams (per binding) the Alpinist 12’s have an innovative toe design that Marker decides to integrate into the new Kingpin M-Werks 12 Bindings in one to achieve a weight savings of 220 grams per pair. This new ultralight toe piece uses just two springs to deliver a reliable and high rated release value similar to the previous Kingpins which utilized 6 springs. Also on the new toe piece, you’ll find Anti-Ice elastomer Pads which help prevent snow and ice buildup and Visual Mounting Aids which allow a skier to quickly identify the correct position of the pins relative to their ski boot.
The heel of the new Kingpin M-Werks 12 Binding also uses this new lightweight plastic that is found in the toe piece. Marker also beefed up the retention in the heel with their ‘XXL Power Transmitters’ (rollers in the heel piece) that maximize the clamping area and centering power while also reducing weight. The ski/walk lever which is integral to the Kingpin M-Werks 12’s has been redesigned to make transitions easier and is now reinforced with carbon fibre and aramid to again save on weight. Once in walk mode, you’ll find the same easy to use three positions (0, 7 or 13 degrees) climbing aids.
The M-Werks 12 also uses a new 38mm wide mount pattern which provides a much larger surface area over which to distribute the boot’s power transition to the ski. This delivers superior performance especially when driving a bigger ski or when you encounter challenging snow conditions or terrain.
The photo below shows how the Marker Kingpin M-Werks 12 Bindings can accommodate an AT boot in a completely perpendicular orientation without inadvertantly unlocking the toe piece. Always a good thing.
As you can tell by the review of the original Kingpin, I’m a big fan. The combination of tech toe and alpine heel makes a lot of sense and combines the benefits of both worlds for those looking to get a single binding for skiing the resort and also getting out beyond the boundary ropes. With Marker effectively reducing the overall weight of their new Kingpin M-Werks 12 by 220 grams per pair while making also easier to use and higher performing the choice is really a no-brainer. If you want the minimal weight of a tech binding and the safety of an alpine release heel then the answer is the Kingpin M-Werks 12.
Having skied on the original Kingpin for four years now in bounds and out and so I can tell you these bindings perform well under all conditions. I’ve been consistently beating my pair up at the ski resort on bumps, pow, crud, trees, steeps, ice,…and they’ve performed flawlessly. Out of bounds I’ve been skiing on the new Marker Alpinist 12 Bindings for a full season now and can understand the merits of that binding’s new tech toe and why Marker would port it over to the new Kingpin M-Werks. Same great performance with a lot less weight. This combination just makes sense.
I mounted the Kingpin M-Werks 12 Bindings on a pair of Volkl Mantra V-Werk Skis (yes, a great combination, I know) and took them out on several early-season ski tours and laps around the resort. The performance was as to be expected, flawless. Like the original Kingpin the new M-Werks 12’s had impressive boot retention and power transmission to the ski. They drove the ski in hardback crud and enabled it to rail on groomers, the full alpine heel inspired confidence to ski as hard as I could without worry of any shortcomings in the binding. When going for a walk out of bounds the weight savings was appreciated although hard to discern from the original Kingpin—but just knowing that it was there seemed to hasten my stride. The improved ergonomics on the ski/walk lever was also very much appreciated at each and every transition, as was the toe piece with it’s reduced spring count, it performed just as the design of the previous version did—flawless.
Better performance, easier to use and a weight savings of 15% makes for a truly innovative upgrade to the original Kingpin Bindings.
Price: $825CAN / $729US
Brake Widths: 70 -100mm, 100-125mm
Weight: 1240g /1lb 5.7oz (per pair with brakes)
Compatibility: Tech Fittings at the Toe and ISO 9523 Touring or ISO 5355 Alpine Heel
Adjustment Range: 28 mm (+ or - 14mm)
Dynamic Adjustment: Over 6mm
Stand height: Toe - 18mm; Heel - 25mm
Certification: DIN ISO 13992:2007 TUV
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