2019-2020 Marker Kingpin 13
Maximum DIN release value: 13
Available Brake Widths: 75-100 mm; 100-125 mm
Climbing Aids: Flat, 7˚, and 13˚
Toe Stand Height: 21 mm
Stated Weight: 768g
Salomon MTN Lab 27.5
Days Tested: 15
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 15/16 Kingpin, which was not changed for 16/17, 17/18, 18/19, or 19/20, apart from graphics.]
[Editor’s Note: While we weighed in on the Kingpin in our Buyer’s Guide, we’ve waited to offer our more complete reviews until we could get more days in the binding. Today, Paul Forward offers his take, Jonathan Ellsworth will be posting his review shortly, and we encourage those of you who have been getting time in the Kingpin to share your impressions in the Comments Section below.]
Marker describes the Kingpin 13 as, “a high performance, innovative alpine touring binding; Marker’s KINGPIN PinTech binding with DIN/ISO 13992:2007 certification from Germany’s prestigious TÜV testing organization redefines the standard in PinTech binding technology. Developed for a wide range of skiing environments, the KINGPIN is a standout product in three key areas: added Protection and safety Performance via optimal power transmission and Comfort in the form of easy operation in both ski and walk mode.”
We’ve been testing the Kingpin since last season, and have come away quite impressed.
Several tech bindings now have various forms of release certification and Marker is definitely making efforts to highlight the DIN/ISO and TUV certifications of the Kingpin. A more detailed breakdown of the testing parameters and the true significance of this would be a good topic for a future Gear 101 article. For now, we’ll keep it relatively brief.
The idea behind these certifications is to give the consumer some confidence in the general safety, and more specifically, the reliability of the release function of the binding. In addition to various forms for measurements and evaluations of the release function, the testing involves a number of evaluations that try to emulate real world situations like ice and snow packing into the binding.
It should be noted that there is a different standard for Alpine bindings (ISO9462:2014) than AT bindings (13992:2007), and that the Kingpin meets the AT 13992:2007 standard. TUV is an independent testing organization.
Overall, we think that this testing and certification is a good step in creating safer tech bindings, but we acknowledge that some of the momentum for this certification is probably related to marketing new products.
In addition, it’s unclear how small (or large) variations in any given boot’s tech fittings and toe width will affect the reliability of the release function. I have personally seen certain boots that exhibit different release characteristics than other boots when placed in the same binding. (Dynafit has partnered with some boot manufacturers to try to standardize tech fittings, but there are plenty of great boots on the market that don’t meet this standardization.)
Look for more information on this in the future, but for now, suffice what we can say is that the Kingpin has met these TUV AT 13992:2007 standards, and that’s probably a good thing in the big picture.
For a quick intro to the Kingpin’s design and features, check out this video from Marker:
The toe piece of the Kingpin doesn’t look much different from any other modern tech binding except that it has a three rows of opposing springs instead of the two that is seen on most other tech bindings. It’s tempting to say that this is somehow stronger or more retentive, but we have no data to back that up.
The heel piece, however, is a significant departure from any other tech binding on the market, and resembles the heel piece of the Marker Jester much more than it does any tech binding. It is also unique in that it does not utilize the tech fittings on the heel of the boot, and instead relies on a retention system very similar to a normal alpine binding with a pivoting, spring-loaded lever holding the boot in place, in conjunction with spring loaded forward tension.
To swap into touring mode the entire heel assembly slides backward with a small lever located under the instep of the boot similar to the Marker Duke. Built into the heel piece are two flip-down heel elevators that provides the binding with three climbing positions including a flat mode.
Mounting and Setup
Our Kingpins came already mounted, but I’ve spent some time using the Kingpin jig at both Gnome’s Alpine Sports and Powder Hound Ski Shop. Mounting them is at least as straightforward as any other tech binding, and setting the release values and forward pressure are essentially the same as adjusting a set of Jesters or Griffons.
Most AT boots with tech fittings should be compatible with the Kingpin without any modification or adaptor. The only exceptions are those boots that have very short, rockered soles like the Dynafit TLT 5 and 6, the Atomic Backland, and various randonee race boots. This can be addressed with the Dynafit TLT 5 and 6 through the use of a special adaptor made by Marker that slight extends the heel shelf.
It is doubtful to us that this adaptor will work with the Atomic Backland due to the cutouts in the heel of that boot, but we have not yet received confirmation of this.
NEXT: Transitions, Heel Pieces Up, Etc.