Marker F 12 & F 10 Tour 2011/2012 First Look


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

You have to hand it to Marker. Ever since they shook our world with their Duke combo tour/alpine binding in 2007, the boys in Penzberg have been tweaking their basic design. Better durability. Better function. Multiple models with the same form factor, such as the F 12 we look at here, as well as the F 10 and Baron. Marker is listening to feedback and leaving no plastic unmolded nor screw unturned. Quite impressive for only four seasons or so of consumer use. We recently received our test pair of production Marker Tour F 12 updated 2011/2012. Take a “first” look. (Please see our Marker binding index for more.)

Marker Tour F 12 and F 10 are constantly improved.

Marker Tour F 12 and F 10 are constantly improved. This season's version continues the trend. Do they deserve the goblet of roses? Time will tell but the colors match so there.

A few quick points: Toe height adjustment has increased range to fit more AT boots. Rollers in toe wings are now plastic blocks that are said to incur less wear from tech fitting equipped boots. Mode change lever is easier to grab with gloved finger. Numerous changes mitigate icing problems. Evolved more wear resistant touring pivot is stronger. Shape of base plate and binding frame changed so binding sits flatter with less stress, as well as providing improved mating of frame and plate. Heel unit is improved for reliable step-in with various boot heel shapes. At some point over the last 12 months or so, the heel lifter configuration on the Marker Tour series was slightly improved as well (probably what they call an “in-line” change), though we didn’t see any change to the lifter specific to this 2011/12 model. Check it all out in pictures.

The all important pivot, at least for those of us who slog uphill.

The all important pivot (new version to left), at least for those of us who slog uphill. We were less than pleased with the Marker Tour offerings prior to this year, as the pivot seemed to wear out unacceptably fast if used for more than occasional touring. This year's is improved by not only being larger diameter, but having a Teflon bushing. All AT binding pivots will wear out eventually. Thus, so long as the improvements cause the Marker to last in similar fashion to other bindings then we give it a nod. This winter's testing will tell the tale. Regarding last year's model, for occasional use as a touring binding even the old style pivot has been perfectly adequate. So if you're looking for a bargain slackcountry binding last year's model could still be a good value.

Marker backcountry skiing binding pivot comparo.

Another view of the pivot and associated plastic. Notice how the new binding (left) has beefed area around pivot axle. The only thing holding the toe unit on the Marker Tour F 12 and F 10 is the pivot axle, so it all needs to be as beefy as possible.

Improved toe wing rollers bushings.

Another big change, along the lines of making this more of a touring binding. Older version (left) had anti-friction rollers in the toe wings that tended to incur damage from AT boots with tech fittings. New version has hard plastic insert in same area that is said to deal better with tech fittings riding against it.

Marker backcountry skiing binding frame improved.

Previous model F Tour might have been a bit weak in the frame at the toe area. At the least, it tends to be fairly twisty in tour mode, especially while sidehilling. New version (to left) has noticeable beef in that area.

Marker Tour F 12 and F 10 frame underside.

Marker Tour F 12/10 frame underside, 2011/2012 model to left. Upper left arrow points to anti-icing Teflon tape on new model. Left middle arrow points to anti-icing rubber boot on AFD height adjustment screw. One problem with the Marker design is it doesn't clear ice buildup well while being used in tour mode. Small improvements such as these probably make a huge difference. Much of the breakage reported with Marker touring bindings has been due to ice buildup causing extreme leverage on binding parts, so these anti-icing changes should result in better durability. Even so, if you use this type of binding for touring, spray with silicone before each trip, and clear any ice buildup before it causes problems. Lower arrows point to changes in shape of binding frame. The frame shape is stronger, and also sits flat on ski in touring mode without being slightly bent when weighted, as the older model did.

Marker backcountry skiing binding mode change finger pull.

Previous incarnation (right) of mode change finger pull was sometimes hard to snag with a gloved finger. New version to left is shaped differently and said to be easier.

Marker backcountry skiing binding F12 Tour, baseplate changes.

Small but important change, rear baseplate has tapered flanges (lower arrow) so the frame (upper arrow) slides easier into alpine mode. This alone makes the new version a much better buy than the old.

A word of advice about using any Marker touring type binding (Duke, Tour F, etc.): Due to the nature of any frame binding, while sidehilling in tour mode you’ll experience quite a bit more flex and deflection of your boot heel and climbing lift than you do with a tech binding. Previous incarnations of the Markers have quite a bit of this type of flex, and some ski alpinists have found it to be too much. This new version appears to be stiffer, but my bench testing shows it’ll still flex quite a bit. Key with this is getting accustomed to this type of flex, as well as accepting it as a tradeoff for having the solid alpine-binding performance these grabbers give you when you lock your heel down — especially in terms of vertical elasticity in the heel as compared to a tech binding.

Weights: Previous version F 12 for 2010/11 weighs 1040 grams, 36.7 ounces (with brakes and screws), new version is 4/10 of an ounce (11.3 grams) heavier. In other words, 2011/2012 Marker F 12 weighs 37.1 ounces, 1051 grams (the F 10 version of this binding may be slightly lighter, but not impressively so from what we saw last season. We’ll be checking.)

Shop for ‘em. Note: Tough to know which version of these an online store is selling. The link I give here is for the 2010/2011 version (I asked), official word is that new version will start shipping mid October. ID new version by the dark plastic inserts in the toe wings where the shiny rollers used to be, otherwise the two versions of the binding are hard to tell apart. Original version works fine if you’re mostly keeping your heels locked down. If you plan on much touring, we only (tentatively) recommend the new version and hope it tests out well enough for a full review just as soon as we get it on snow.

Comments

51 Responses to “Marker F 12 & F 10 Tour 2011/2012 First Look”

  1. Kevin S October 6th, 2011 10:10 am

    Lou- Any idea when Marker will move the release mode to the rear of the binding so users do not have to eject to change modes? Surely there is a model in the works so I would be consider giving up my Fritschi Freerides.

  2. Kevin S October 6th, 2011 10:12 am

    Ooops- Sorry for the poor english in my post as I am multi-tasking……….

  3. Greg Louie October 6th, 2011 11:09 am

    Thanks for the detailed comparison pics, Lou. Looks like Marker has done a commendable job of addressing the problems with last year’s version, hope they work out!

  4. Lou October 6th, 2011 11:18 am

    Kevin, probably never for this form factor… when I spoke with the engineers in Germany they were adamant about this binding design not needing that feature as it’s intended as the crossover binding with emphasis on being an alpine binding. Also, due to how sensitive the locking mechanism is to snow and ice buildup, you pretty much have to take your skis off and clean out before switching modes in all but the most mellow conditions.

  5. Devon October 6th, 2011 12:10 pm

    I can attest to the propensity of these bindings to have terrible ice buildup. It can get very frustrating switching to and from touring mode as even little specks of ice or snow can make it nearly impossible to switch. Any design considerations for that are definitely a plus! That is too bad they didn’t make significant upgrades to the heel lifter. I find it to be a bit cheap feeling, and tough to switch. If I don’t make sure it is locked in correctly, a hard step can push the heel lifter down to the lower setting.

  6. mike marolt October 6th, 2011 1:18 pm

    What is the diff in weight from the Friche free rides (if you have that info)?

  7. Bob October 6th, 2011 2:56 pm

    I saw some pics of an unreleased Atomic Tracker touring binding that might make the Marker and Fritschis both look obsolete, at least for the side-country skiers (nothing beats tech bindings for real touring).

    Looks like the best combo of Alpine, Fritschi and Marker style binders. Too bad they aren’t for sale yet…

    Here is a link.

  8. Lou October 6th, 2011 3:10 pm

    Mike, when I accused the Marker boys of using Fritschi as their weight target, they just smiled and bought me another plate of German potatoes and pork. But the weight chart tells the tale:

    http://www.wildsnow.com/more/backcountry-skiing-gear-weights/

    Lou

  9. jake October 6th, 2011 10:38 pm

    Lou- I have heard and seen some info about a fail point of the Tour bindings being if you take a “boot fall” while skinning (as in falling forward over the tips of your skis.) The Duke/Barons with the larger toe pieces bottom out on the baseplate, but the Tours with the shorter more minimal toepiece don’t bottom out and put a ton of stress on the plastic around the pivot point that can cause the plastic to shear right at the pivot. Sounds like Marker warrantied a number of bindings due to this last year. Curious if you have seen it much, if it is something Marker is aware of and wanting to remedy, and if any of your notoriously rigorous bench testing has revealed anything. Thanks Lou.

  10. Lou October 7th, 2011 6:07 am

    Jake, that’s also known as a “knee fall” and yes some bindings are more susceptible to damage from a knee fall than others. I’ll check it out.

    Main thing to remember about all this is Marker has no intention of their binding being the ultimate ski touring rig. Tech bindings are on that throne and in no danger of loosing their rule at this time. Marker bindings such as Duke and Tour are intended to be a crossover binding that skis like an alpine binding and makes necessary compromises to do so. Those of you who want the perfect binding, that weighs nearly nothing, has every touring feature known to man and then some we’ve never heard of, skis like a World Cup race binding, and is impossible to break — well, you’ll have to wait a bit longer.

  11. Lou October 7th, 2011 6:15 am

    Bob, I’m not sure why anyone would think that supposed Salomon binding would be so great. It looks like another me-to frame binding that’s probably not as solid as a Marker in downhill mode. Of course, anything new is always better, at least till WildSnow.com gets their hands on it (grin)!

    Hagan (sometimes spelled incorrectly as Hagen) also has a binding, covered in a post here. It’s a frame binding as well, quite similar to a Fritschi, might even be made by them for all I know.

    See Hagan binding here: http://www.wildsnow.com/4521/hagan-backcountry-skiing-binding/

  12. Greg Louie October 7th, 2011 11:34 am

    Wait a while longer?

    This ski touring thing is not going away. If I were Salomon I’d be working on developing a 14 DIN Tech binding with a real spring rather than two bent pins modulating upward release . . . but minus the hook-and-bar of the Trab/Scarpa heel. Speaking of which, what happened to that one?

  13. Bob October 7th, 2011 2:40 pm

    Lou, Yes. I’ve seen the Hagan binding too but it looks like it sits up higher off the ski and only has one bar on the frame instead of two so I would imagine it is still all wiggly like the Fritschis in ski mode (actually it looks identical to a Fritschi).

    The Atomic/Salomon (same company kinda) touring binding looks like it would switch modes like a Fritschi but sit tight down on the ski with a stronger looking 2-bar frame like the Marker style bindings. Kinda the best of the two bindings I would hope. On the down side it looks pretty heavy but side country skiers won’t care about that much.

    Don’t worry Lou. I won’t buy them until you test them out for me first:)

  14. Lou October 7th, 2011 3:17 pm

    I’ll see if I can make that happen Bob!

  15. Jon O October 8th, 2011 7:17 am

    Hi!

    The Marker F12 which was at the European market last year had not only the “boot fall fail” issue, but another issue, which was even worse, durability. What happened was that the front part with the toe wings actually started to tilt forward, and it got worse. The forward tilt caused unwanted ski release, and a lot of “slack” between the boot and binding, which again caused limited ski control.

    My first pair of bindings lasted 2,5 month. My last day in Golden, Canada was almost ruined, because literally it was so much slack in the binding because of the forward tilt of the binding so it wasn’t safe riding them. That was due to severely limited ski control and danger of unwanted release. I used the bindings with a pair of Scarpa Skookum boots, and I know that the bindings were correctly adjusted.

    I got a new pair on warranty. The second pair did only last about two weeks, before the same issue turned up again. Got my third pair before a 10 day trip to Sarek National Park (northern Sweden). There is no cell phone connection in Sarek, and it is been called one of the the last wilderness of Europe. Unfortunately my 3rd pair started having the same issue again, already on the 4th day. On the 7th day I couldn’t continue to the peak with the rest of the group, because of serious issues with unwanted releases, beause of forward tilt of the “front part”. Fortunately there were another guy who had an extra set of skis, which I borrowed for the two last days. I used my skis the last day, but about 6 km before we were at our target, it was actually impossible to get the boot to stick to the binding. It released for almost every step! At least the 2010/2011 bindings has serious issues, and I would not recommend anyone to buy these bindings. If you’re planning taking these on a multiday trip, be sure to bring plenty of spare parts or an extra set of skis if you’re taking a sled with you.

    A friend of mine also had the same issue, and he had 3 pairs of the Marker F12 last season as well, before changing to the Marker Baron13.

    This turned out to be a long post, but if someone is interested I got pictures of the binding with this issue.

  16. Tim October 8th, 2011 12:03 pm

    Jon,

    I would love to see these pictures, as this is the binding I was planning on using for area/sidecountry.

    Perhaps should reconsider?

  17. raven October 8th, 2011 1:51 pm

    scarpa skookom -not the best boot for this type of binding i suppose…
    i use duke and im satisfied with everything about this binding-use it for long tours and also i push hard on a way down ,maybe f10 and f12 is from different lighter not so solid material? i dont know..
    and Sarek is not the last wilderness in europe John:)
    dont forget about Alps ,Carpathian,macedonian mountains,Norway,Finnland,and other beautifull wild untouched places in europe
    thanks god we still have wilderness here in europe
    if you go and ski there be like a part of the nature cause thats what we all are

  18. Christian October 9th, 2011 1:56 am

    A friend of mine had the exact same problem as Jon when doing a ski crossing of Jotunheimen. He believed the problem was partly due to having thightened the gap between the boot and binding too much – but that is unconfirmed. He was touring with alpine boots.

  19. Jon O October 9th, 2011 4:54 am

    To raven:
    In a theoretical perspective I do disagree with you regards to the choice of boot. Marker do definitively claim that the F10/F12 is an alpine touring binding. The following is cited directly from their webpage ” The Tour F12 is an AT binding for the skier who wants an all-day touring rig, but still wants great skiing performance”. Further, under the specifications they state:
    “gliding AFD – height adjustable, AT/alpine’

    According to the specifications the binding should work well with AT boots like the Scarpa Skookum, but practically it may be another issue.

    Secondly I didn’t say that Sarek was the last wilderness, but one of the last wildernesses ;) I did conjugate wilderness wrong in my previous post though.. I’m of course, as you say, very pleased that Sarek isn’t the last wilderness in Europe!

    to tim:
    This is the link to the pictures:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/68459636@N06/sets/72157627851424934/
    Look at the front part in relation to the rest of the binding. Particularly the angle.

  20. raven October 9th, 2011 10:28 am

    sorry Jon,i just didnt read you properly:)
    and about skookom,i use touring boot in my dukes with no problem
    as i never used skookom and f10/f12 bindings i dont know…
    but those pictures you linked here look very dangerous…looks like whole front part is broken …

  21. Simon October 9th, 2011 4:03 pm

    I’m surprised that they haven’t done anything about the risk of the bindning breaking when taking a knee fall due to the toe being so long. I’ve heard of a couple of binding failure report regarding this problem but from what I could tell from the pictures of the new one there has been no change in that area.

    What’s your take on that lou?

    Thanks for keeping me dated with all the new gear!

  22. Lou October 9th, 2011 4:18 pm

    The solution to knee fall breakage is called a tech binding.

    Um, with that out of the way, let me say that building a frame binding that’s resistant to knee fall breakage is complex, adds weight and cost or at the least lots of height off the ski. My take about Marker is they are focused on being an alpine binding that sometimes tours. They have strengthened the binding, but yes the geometry is the same so taking a knee fall puts loads of stress on one small area, and the range of motion of the binding in terms of for/aft “swing” in touring mode is limited.

    Bindings such as Fritschi and Silvretta Pure deal with it by placing the toe unit on a spring loaded track so it can move back to some degree in a knee fall, but the range of “give” that yields is still limited, though much greater than the Marker models.

  23. Pablo October 10th, 2011 2:40 am

    Hi Lou,
    as U know I,m from Spain and my limited english is not enough to translate “Knee fall” correctly. Can you explain a little whay kind os fall it is? It’s important to me to follow that interesant discussion about that risk in Marker F10-12 Tour bindings.

    Thanks a lot!

  24. Jon O October 10th, 2011 3:47 am

    raven:
    no worries ;)

    I think that everyone who is considering this binding should read my first post, have a look at the pictures I posted and read this post.

    Regarding the front part, I will try to explain what has been the issue. Underneath the part with the toe wings there is a rectangular grove. That rectangular grove rests on a “heightened” rectangular piece of plastic which is a part of the white frame. What happened was that the edges of the heightened rectangular piece on the main frame was worn down. Particularly the end which points in the tail direction. Resulting in forward tilt of the front part in relation to the rest of the binding, and it just got worse over time until complete failure with all the risks associated with it mentioned in my previous posts. It seems that Duke/Baron utilizes another kind of plastic or design. I don’t know about the plastic and I don’t know about the specific design since I haven’t demounted the Baron/Duke piece for piece as I have done with the Marker Tour F12.

    Lou: Two questions: Have you heard about the issue I had in North America? Do you got any comments or do you know anything on the design of that particular issue or plastic quality?

    Pablo:
    Knee fall is when you’re falling forward while in touring mode.

    -Jon

  25. Jon O October 10th, 2011 3:54 am

    I’m sorry to post this twice, but below is a little bit more detailed and more correct description.

    Regarding the front part, I will try to explain what has been the issue. Underneath the part with the toe wings there is a rectangular grove on each side. Those rectangular groves rests on “heightened” rectangular pieces of plastic, one on each side, which is a part of the white frame. What happened was that the edges of the heightened rectangular pieces on the main frame was worn down. Particularly the end which points in the tail direction. Resulting in forward tilt of the front part in relation to the rest of the binding, and it just got worse over time until complete failure with all the risks associated with it mentioned in my previous posts. It seems that Duke/Baron utilizes another kind of plastic or design. I don’t know about the plastic and I don’t know about the specific design since I haven’t demounted the Baron/Duke piece for piece as I have done with the Marker Tour F12.

    -Jon

  26. Lou October 10th, 2011 5:09 am

    Pablo, I actually got the “knee fall” term from an Austrian translating German.

    It simply means falling forward while in touring mode, in such a way that your knee goes violently towards the tip of the ski, thus causing the touring binding to reach it’s max pivot/swing up and forward. It can easily be simulated on the workbench.

  27. Lou October 10th, 2011 5:37 am

    Jon, thanks for the detailed explanation. First, let’s all be clear that any gear has at least one way it can fail, and something as complex as a ski binding usually has multiple failure modes.

    It sound like you encountered something unusual. Your problem could have been exacerbated by incorrect adjustment of the toe wings height. Or, perhaps you simply encountered a wear point that wears out after a large amount of use. Or….

    While I heard many reports of undue pivot wear in early models of the Marker Tour bindings (as well as Duke and Baron), yours is the first and only time I’ve heard of this problem. That leads me to conclude it is unusual and again perhaps due to the following, either one of the following factors or a combination. 1. A defective binding. 2. A large amount of use in touring mode, combined perhaps with, 3. mis-adjustment of toe wing height, or 4. taking a knee fall that loosened the toe unit, which then became looser over time and use.

    I’ve analyzed the Marker Tour geometry, and I’d say that 4. is the most likely thing. Reason being, if you carefully examine the binding, you’ll see that in a knee fall, a huge amount of stress is placed directly in the direction of prying the toe unit up and off the binding, thus achieving your exact problem.

    Perhaps you took a knee fall, which loosened the toe unit ever so slightly, then in subsequent touring it began to wear, got worse, and finally as bad as your photos indicate.

    Also, 5. simply using the binding and taking long strides that “bump” against resistance at end of stride, as if taking tiny knee falls each stride, could also have something to do with the problem you describe.

    I’m surprised Marker did not add a few degrees of forward range to the binding in touring mode. This could easily be done by having just a few millimeters more clearance in the plastic that blocks forward motion. Of course, doing so would involve weakening the binding, and have to be compensated for.

    I’d also add that at the Marker and R&D facility in Germany, they have a machine that “walks” in the binding for days on end, till failure. I’m certain that without knee falls or mis-adjustment of toe wing height, their testing would have teased out the problem you describe if it was from normal use — and they would have changed the design to eliminate the problem. However, they obviously did not catch the problem of pivot wear in earlier models, so perhaps their testing machine is not brutal enough. Let’s just say I know these guys are sincere and well-meaning product engineers as well as skiers themselves, and they do test the bindings extensively, so it’s pretty unlikely your failure mode would be something common.

    Thus, again, I think you either encountered a defective binding, or that perhaps combined with knee fall and subsequent “worrying” of the toe unit that wore it more and more.

    Shew, one more thing: If you noticed this gradually occurring, why didn’t you simply return bindings on warranty? It appears that the way the toe unit is melded to the binding frame is somewhat complex, and could be subject to manufacturing defect.

  28. Jon O October 10th, 2011 7:17 am

    Thanks for answering Lou, it’s appreciated. I would also give you credits for a really good blog ;)

    I know that the binding were correctly adjusted (have worked a bit as a ski tech myself). Before each weekend or multiday trip I double checked the adjustments and made sure that they were correct.

    My opinion according to your suggestions is that the only reasonable explanation is perhaps that there is a wear point that simply wears out after a large amount of use and I also do agree with you that both point nr 4 and 5 sounds likely. Then I wonder, shouldn’t a touring binding withstand a knee fall and subsequent use without wearing down very quickly?

    On my first set of bindings they didn’t start to wear down until I only had 3-4 days left in Canada, and I talked to ski tech at Kicking Horse about claiming a warranty, it would take more time than I had left. When I got back to Norway the first thing I did was filing a warranty claim. I got new bindings straight away.

    One of the Marker reps in Norway also told me that it could be a manufacturing defect, so the second pair came from another batch. It did only last for about 14 days as I wrote previously. Got my third pair, on warranty claim, before going to Sarek. This pair was from another batch than the 1st and 2nd, at least that was what the Marker rep. told me. For me it seems unlikely that there was a manufacturing defect on three different pair of bindings. I’m quite positive that I didn’t have a knee fall, before my third pair started to wear down as well. I think that, what you wrote under point 5 is likely in this case.

    I do definitively regard this as a well meaning product with good specs for my intended use, but practically it hasn’t proved durable at all.

    Another friend of mine also had the same problem as I had last season, he returned in total 3/3 pairs of the bindings. So the two of us returned 6/6 pairs of Marker Tour F12! I do find such numbers quite scary..

  29. Lou October 10th, 2011 7:42 am

    Jon, glad you enjoy Backcountry Skiing Blog.

    One would think after two pairs you guys would just go to Fritschi or Dynafit! What’s that they say about history? If you can’t learn from history, you are doomed to make the same mistakes (grin).

    At any rate, since you’re still on the Marker and so forth, please please let us know how your durability testing goes.

    Also, I’d suggest paying attention to your stride. If you feel the binding bumping up against its motion limit, then you are definitely on the wrong binding for your type of use. When that repeats thousands of times, something has to give.

  30. Pablo October 10th, 2011 7:49 am

    Thank for the definition, I was just imagining that but better to ask to be right!

    I’m in the same opinion than Lou. Maybe a coincidence of a manufacturing defect and some kind of Knee fall… i think it’s not normal.
    I work in a mountain and ski shop here in Spain and we sell the F10. We haven’t received any input about such problems, so i figure this kind of problem is not usual.
    Here in Spain F10 and F12 have had a great success and they are taking the Barons place, because peoples sees them as resistant as Barons and Dukes.

    Hope my english is not so bad U can’t understand me.

  31. Lou October 10th, 2011 7:50 am

    By the way, I just tested LAST SEASON version of Tour F 12 in knee fall. The toe unit broke off quite easily. Now that it’s broken off I can more easily analyze what’s been going on with yours. I’d say what most likely is you actually cracked the plastic under the toe unit, which allowed it to move. Second to that, the ONLY thing holding the toe unit on is actually the pivot axle, so yes the toe unit could conceivably rock back and forth and gradually wear out its seat. I can only think of three things that would do that, either knee fall or repetitive “bumping” of binding against range of motion, while striding, or cranking toe wing height too tight. Since you didn’t do poor adjustment, nor take a knee fall, I’d say it was repetitive motion.

    The question now will be if this year’s version of binding is stronger in this area. I can now observe it on last year’s model as well as this years, and it is indeed STRONGER in that area by virtue of some small changes in the shape of the molding. Please let us know how this year’s version works for you.

    Lou

  32. Jon O October 10th, 2011 9:08 am

    Had a laugh about your “learn from the history comment” ;)

    I do definitively understand why you can’t understand that I went for a third pair. I wanted to give the Marker Tour F12 a really honest try, because of their promising specs. After my 3rd pair, I was fed up though. I didn’t have any confidence in the Marker Tour F12 anymore, and went for the Marker Baron instead (on warranty). Unfortunately I can’t report on the durability issue of the F12s anymore.

    It would be interesting too see if others encounter the same problem through the coming season, and see if last season bindings hold up. Those of you with the Marker Tour F12, please follow Lou’s recommendation, report about durability.

    The stride issue is probably most related to mixed terrain, particularly long flats and gentle downward facing terrain, as it seems more energy efficient to try to glide on the skis, as a consequence stride length increases, and as you say Lou, that the binding reaches its end range of motion which causes extra stress on the binding.

    I still think that my other question is partially unanswered; shouldn’t a touring binding withstand such a natural gliding motion without wearing down very quickly?

    -Jon

  33. Lou October 11th, 2011 4:06 pm

    I added another Marker Tour photo, third down, showing beefed plastic around pivot axle. After extensive testing, I’m convinced nearly all problems with this binding last season were caused by pivot wear. So the new one, with thicker plastic as well as teflon bushing, should show much better durability. It sure skis downhill good, so thanks Marker for doing in-line changes to improve durability.

  34. icelanticskier October 11th, 2011 4:26 pm

    the marker f12 proved to be a complete joke for me in terms of durability last season. in 20 years of touring i’ve never had a “knee fall”, so can’t blame it on that. i went through 2 pair of f12 last season, and the second pair had VERY noticeable toe piece play after just 5 outings. after 15 days, i could move the whole binding side to side about an inch+ when in tour mode making sidehilling impossible. they do ski great on the down.

    after returning my second pair this summer (marker warranty guys are GREAT!), i put a note in the box that read, “if marker hasn’t improved the f12′s durability for 2012, then please send me the new baron. a week later, the new baron showed up at the shop. i don’t give a $hit about weight, and am only interested in a true step-in binder, so hopefully the baron will last at least 50 touring days at 4-10k a day.

    we shall see. if not i’ll go back to fritshi, a binding that never caused me any issues in multiple seasons of use. ever. they just don’t ski as well on the down.

    rog

  35. Jimmy October 22nd, 2011 6:29 am

    Hi!
    First off just let me say excelent blog!!
    Second I would appreciate some binding avice, Dukes or F12? Will be mounted on a DPS wailer 112 or possibly a Sidestash. Use is mainly lift-served off-pist, some on-pist and some shorter hikes, say no more than an hour on the upphill. Might start to tour more but then I’ll probably get some tech-bindings. My weight is 75 kg, moderate skier, no hard charging or cliffdropping. First I was set on the Dukes due to durability issues with the F12 ,but if they have been significantly improved this year maybe its a better choice? I save weigt and money and I dont need higher DIN than 12. My only concern is durability. So Dukes or F12?

  36. Lou October 22nd, 2011 8:18 am

    F12 is still unproven after problems last year. Duke.

  37. Jimmy October 22nd, 2011 12:30 pm

    Ok thanks!

  38. John November 28th, 2011 5:00 pm

    I’ve tried to find the reengineered F12 on-line and in-store over the past 2 weeks. The in-store folks (2 stores) are receiving 2012 F12 bindings that are identical to 2010/11 versions; but the stores think they are 2012 models. I’m in the hunt for the upgraded binding.

    My question is about release to the market: When will Marker ship new version?

  39. Olivier Battaglione November 28th, 2011 7:49 pm

    I just purchased a pair in Mammoth this past weekend. Looks beefier than the previous version. I know many people don’t seem to like these but I wanted to take a chance and see for myself.

  40. Morten November 30th, 2011 1:37 pm

    Lou, if there is anyone that should learn from history in this case, then it’s Marker. Credits to Jon for letting them the opportunity to supply new bindings, instead of instantly switching to another brand. I’m not that loyal though.

    The exact same thing happened to my F12′s as well, after only 5 days use. On my way down the binding released and I had a very ugly fall. This happened at a ski touring festival in Norway in May and as the Marker distributor was represented there I walked up with the ski, he looked at it and instantly said they would replace it and stated they were well aware of the pivot problem. I was told that these new ones were improved. It was the end of the season pretty much so I didn’t get to ski them more than a few times. I need bindings I can trust so I’m switching to Fritshi.

    I would not recommend anyone these potentially unsafe bindings.

  41. Lou December 1st, 2011 7:06 am

    Well, as I tried to relate in the post above, this year’s version is substantially changed.

    I’ll say again, that knowing the resources these guys have, and the testing machinery they employ, I was very surprised at the problems with the original version binding. I’m optimistic for the new one, but we’ll be testing, and waiting for consumer reports, before dancing in the streets and raising our hands in praise.

    As related in the post above, the ONLY thing that holds the toe unit on the binding is the pivot axle. So that area needs major beef.

  42. Rod January 10th, 2012 8:43 am

    I purchased F12 (2011 model) in August 2011. Ten days touring in the backcountry and the only problem I had was the pivoting in the front mount (as shown in this video http://vimeo.com/29119643). The toe-knee problem has no effect in the F12′s I have. They are good bindings, except for the bad quality of plastic around the screw in the front mount. I hope the new version will eliminate this bad-feature as you have expressed in this post. Have a good time in the BC!

  43. Rodney April 10th, 2012 4:45 pm

    Two weeks ago i bought the new F12 to go on a pair of Scott Crusair 179′s. I am approx 6′ and weight 85kg – but usually have a snow pulse pack – so carry quite a bit more. We did 5 days of skiing in Zermatt. On four of these we went touring. Today I noticed while touring quite considerable movement in the toe area while touring along the side of a hill. Essentially the boot could rock left and right. When i locked the boot down for skiing downhill the play in the toe unit reduced but was still there.

    Up to then i had been happy with the binding and the skiis (still very happy with the skiis). However, I am worried that if this is the amount of play in such a short amount of time then things will get a lot worse (especially in the context of the rest of the comments). I am reaching the conclusion that I will needto ditch the Markers and try a tech binding.

  44. gary d September 20th, 2012 2:13 pm

    hi, hoping someone can answer my question around F10 bindings, im of to japan in Jan 13 and the guide we’re using has said that the ski’s we will hire, have Marker F10 bindings.
    i normaly ski in europe, std skiing, not power skiing etc, and have std ski boots, will my boots fit the F10 bindings or are they totally different??

  45. Max September 27th, 2012 10:01 am

    Lou,
    I recently bought a pair of k2 obsetheds and am wanting to put a pair of touring bindings on them. I was thinking of the tour f12′s as they are a good compromise between touring and downhill. Unfortunately the largest brake size with the latest version of this binding is 110 mm and my obsetheds are 115mm under foot. Would it be possible to put baron or duke brakes on them? Do the older versions have larger brakes?
    Thanks,
    Max

  46. Lou Dawson September 27th, 2012 10:15 am

    Max, I’m pretty sure the brakes will swap. More, you can probably get 2.5mm more on each side by simply bending the brakes a hair and trimming some plastic of the end of the brake prongs. I’d order the bindings and a set of wider brakes and give it a try. Return what you don’t need or what doesn’t work…

    Don’t even think about getting an older version of the Marker Tour binding, the older ones are not strong enough.

    http://www.backcountry.com/marker-f12-tour-binding

  47. Timmyp November 20th, 2012 8:40 am

    Hey Lou (or anyone else that knows),
    I see that Marker made a bunch of upgrades to the 11/12 model to improve issues that were descovered by the early adoptors in the first season.

    As this is still a young product that should be rapidly evolving, does anyone know if there are any further changes made to the 12/13 model?

    I am in process of purchasing my first AT set-up and think I am going to pull the trigger on the F12s today. I believe Lou and others that the 11/12s were improved, and certainly you don’t see nearly as many reports of failed bindings in that model, but I’d sure love some reassurance that these things are solid and continuing to get better.

    Just for added info and fun: I am putting them on a set of Atomic Drifters (’11s, but still packaged) in 182cm which I found a good deal on. I am 5’10″, 230lbs, and an ex college racer who puts a good deal of energy into the ski. I am not totally sure how much time I will spend BC this first year, but when I am at the resort on normal days I still rock the race boards. So this set up should be for BC day trips, the occasional overnight hut trip, and a few powder days at the resort. OH, and I live in New England so this will mostly be skiing in the Whites, and Greens, with maybe 1 week a year in WY, ID, UT if I am lucky.

    Thanks for any info on the (12/13) Tour F12s, or the new AT set up.
    ~Tim

    PS I plan to do the Dynafit thing eventually but probably on a lighter, shorter, maybe waxless set up, totally dedicated to longer tours. I have BD Factor 130′s so I can swap in the tech toe and heel blocks when I do that.

  48. Lou Dawson November 20th, 2012 11:17 am

    Timmy, unless you really abuse gear I think you’ll be happy with FT12 Marker Tour. Lou

  49. Rodney November 20th, 2012 12:09 pm

    I am in the process of selling my FT12′s and shifting to Dynafits. I don’t think the FT12′s are strong enough or good enough at uphill or downhill. I have the 11/12 model. Up to you but you may end up buying twice!

  50. Timmyp November 20th, 2012 12:24 pm

    Thanks for the reply Rodney, that is some of the first real feedback I have heard from a user since the 11/12 updates. Can you say what convinced you they are not strong enough? Have they actually broken or started to show wear at the pivot point like the 10/11? TNX ~Tim

  51. Rodney November 20th, 2012 2:25 pm

    Timmyp – see my post from April. Essentially I found there was too much flex in the binding whether touring or skiing downhill. My wife has Marker Barons and been happy with the downhill. However, they are rather heavy for touring so she will keep the Barons for resort touring and using Dynafits for longer tours – I think this is the best answer if you can manage two set ups.

    We have Fritchi Freeride pro bindings and have been happy on the up and down. I personally would recommend these over the FT12′s if you want just one set up.

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