The Marker Kingpin was an eagerly awaited new model on the touring binding scene for this winter. However like so many new pieces of hardware the delivery date was pushed back and teething problems persisted so effectively the Kingpin is now a new binding for Winter 15/16. However there are a few pairs floating about late season and K2 have stuck a rental pair on some K2 Backup 88s and lent them to me.
The idea of the kingpin seems so obvious now you see it. A tech toe piece combined with pretty standard alpine heel. The narrow distance between the heel pins is the weakness in the TLT design when it comes to more aggressive skiing, as they do little to resist boot rotation in the binding. Dynafit’s solution is the Beast retrofit heel bar, where as the Kingpin does away with the need for any boot modification by using a pretty conventional heel piece. Dynafit’s custom solution does have some nice touches about it like auto brake retraction to offset the boot modification.
The central lever mechanism, which moves the heel piece rearward and out of the way for uphill mode, is common to all the Maker touring bindings but instead of the whole binding moving forward and backward, it’s just the heel piece on the Kingpin. You have to depress the brake manually whilst flipping the lever to lock the brake up. Then lock the heel down as if your boot was in for alpine skiing and use the flip over heel eight adjusters. The toe piece has no adjustment and does not attempt to have any lateral movement pre release like the Beast. The heel piece can have max DIN of 10 or 13 and adjusts on 2 axis.
I am pretty excited by the Kingpin, it seems to offer a good solution for the one quiver skier who would prefer the uphill and weight advantage of a TLT toe but better downhill performance than a TLT heel. Off skiing on Saturday so will report back soon.