Marker Kingpin Ski Binding Part 2 — Supplemental Infos

Post by blogger | September 2, 2014      

My previous Marker Kingpin post is so lengthy it would be insane to add more content. Thus, I’ll start this Part 2 and place new stuff here as it comes up. Let the questions fly, I’m still sitting next to all the demo bindings here in Chile.

You can run Kingpin without brakes.  This is the leash mount hole in the toe moldings.

You can run Kingpin without brakes. This is the leash mount hole in the toe moldings. Developer told me the mount is tested to be stronger than the cord they’ll use for their OEM leash.

Underside of Marker binding demo board shows various screw patterns, note Royal Family, with Kingpin screws marked as red.

Underside of Marker binding demo board shows various screw patterns, note Royal Family, with Kingpin screws marked as red.

Rear screw pattern, remember you can move the heel unit quite a bit forward or back to avoid screw overlap.

Underside of demo board showing Kingpin rear screw pattern in relation to other Marker bindings (note where it’s labeled ‘Royal Family,’ remember you can move the heel unit quite a bit forward or back to avoid screw overlap. Kingpin screws are marked with red dots.

Rendering from Marker with notes from us, screw pattern is 38 mm wide at front and back.

Rendering from Marker with notes from us, screw pattern is 38 mm wide at front and back.

To get clear on a few binding widths and screw mount pattern widths, see this post. I’ll update that post when I get a chance. At this time the Dynafit Beast is probably most equivalent competitor to Kingpin. Beast does have some screw pairs that are on a wider grid than 38 mm. Screw pattern of Vipec is narrow at the heel, 27.8 mm left/right. Dynafit Radical _heel_ screw pattern is 35 mm front pair 31 mm rear pair. Vipec screw pattern is wide at the front. Pair at the front of the toe on 42 mm centers, pair at rear 39 mm centers. Compare to Dynafit Radical at 30 mm wide for both pair. G3 Ion has probably the widest screw pattern at toe, 40 mm.

One thing I know is that when the screws are father apart, I ski way better. I mean, WAY better.


57 Responses to “Marker Kingpin Ski Binding Part 2 — Supplemental Infos”

  1. Oscar September 2nd, 2014 7:33 am

    Have I understood it correctly if the hole pattern for the Kingpin is the same as for the royal family? Or are they just similar?

  2. Lou Dawson 2 September 2nd, 2014 7:44 am

    Sorry Oscar, the ‘Royal Family’ is just that group of holes on the demo board, to the best of my knowledge. Main point here is that if you want to swap Kingpin onto a drilled pair of skis, no matter what binding you presently have you’ll probably need to drill a new set of holes. Beyond that, my point is that you can probably figure out a way to mount without overlapping holes, though you never know for sure till you put the mounting template or jig on a ski and move things around. Lou

  3. Billy Balz September 2nd, 2014 8:37 am

    Lou, will these be as easy DIY install as the dynafits?

  4. Lou Dawson 2 September 2nd, 2014 9:08 am

    Billy, they look easy to mount. At home you’d probably do the toe first like is usually done with Dynafit, then line up the boot while in toe unit, and so forth. Lou

  5. lederhosen42 September 2nd, 2014 9:56 am

    Good side view pic of toepiece answers my question about snow/ice buildup excavatability…concerns assuaged.

  6. Levi September 2nd, 2014 9:58 am

    Totally OT:
    I was skinning last season and hit a steep icy patch when my right skin slipped and hyper extended my hip backward. My physical therapist and I are thinking its a hip socket tear (labrum). Can anyone recommend a doctor who has dealt with this kind of injury before? I’m in Alamosa, Colorado.
    Thanks tons! Levi

  7. Matt Clark September 2nd, 2014 10:00 am

    Hey Lou,

    Any idea what the ramp angle is like (say, with a Cochise)? Sorry if I’ve missed that elsewhere.

  8. Jeremy September 2nd, 2014 10:46 am

    My first reaction was that they had just sawn the frame off a Baron, and screwed the heel lifters on. I appreciate that there is more to it than that, but the walk/ski mode flip switch and the mounting track and heel piece are pretty similar. So no leaps forward in technology, like the Beast heel or rotating toe piece.

    It is very good to see easily swappable brakes, which to my mind are one of the main failings of the Dynafit Beast. The Kingpin website mentions the brakes have large move-in, do you have feel for what practical range of widths each size would cover?

    I’m not sure if the 6 springs in the toe is marketing hype, or whether there is a practical benefit. Will they block snow entering the toe, or keep more snow in under the toe?

  9. Lou Dawson 2 September 2nd, 2014 11:29 am

    As with other tech bindings I had to clean ice out from under toe a couple times in extreme conditions, there is room to do this, but I wish all tech bindings would have less of a defined pocket holding ice formation.

  10. Toby September 2nd, 2014 2:54 pm

    I’m very sceptic about two added toe claw springs “better absorbing energy” when basic kinematics remains the same. This old school type design has been proven to cause pre-releases (hi energy side loads spikes – vibration during hardpack skiing). You can certainly add springs and/or spring forces, but it will remain close to “binary” type of release – it pops open, and out you come, nothing between.

    It was back in Dec 7.2010 when you demonstrated here in WS, how stronger FT spring could help to avoid certain (now well known) type of pre-releases, but won’t remove the root cause: lack of later elasticity of the toe claws. This has been discussed (and surely massively research) a lot since then.

    So, hopefully they haven’t totally ignored a necessity of lateral elasticity that other manufactures has been now working for during last 5-years minimum. First came stronger FT springs, then Power towers, now we have rotating toe(s), and finally Vipec’s (and Trab TR2) true toe release with lots of added side way travel.

  11. Lou Dawson 2 September 2nd, 2014 6:28 pm

    Toby, I’d tend to agree except it’s a bit more complex than that. Thing is, the boot heel can move to the side, as pins move in boot toe fittings, even with more powerful springs in the toe. So in other words the type of pre-release I demonstrated can perhaps be prevented by stronger springs, but you can still have elasticity in lateral (heel moving to the side). While I did enjoy the Chilean koolaid for the past few days, rest assured that as soon as I get my hands on my own pair of Kingpin I’ll devise some tests to measure some of this, or I’ll get a binding engineer to help you. Lou

  12. Rick Howell September 2nd, 2014 6:40 pm

    @Lou, Toby is right about his concern because the kinematics appear to be the same / unchanged / from other pin-tech bindings — with the apparent exception of the toe-location guides.

    Rick Howell
    Howell Ski Bindings
    Stowe, Vermont USA

  13. foo September 2nd, 2014 6:52 pm

    Lou, 0 degree position you’re walking on the AFDs by the looks of the video. Won’t they wear over time, particularly if you’re in gritty conditions?

    Toe pins look to be riveted in place and irreplaceable – thoughts on them wearing with respect to the aluminium? Obviously they’ve overcome some of the competitors’ issues with screwed in pins that back out by themselves but hard metal against soft metal could be an issue over time? I guess it’s tried and tested by others already …

    Still concerned about the thin tape for heel mode selection. Why don’t manufacturers put it at the back, then it can be significantly more chunky. I guess underfoot you have the boot sole making sure it’s locked into forward or rear position as a failsafe but like others the thin tape makes me think it could flex and break down over time.

  14. Nievesurfeador September 2nd, 2014 9:51 pm

    Lou – I read through this and the first look, but couldn’t get a good read on your initial thoughts specifically in comparison to the Beast. Are you waiting until you have your own pair, or can you give some thoughts on what you think are the strengths of one over another?

    Also, as someone else pointed out, if the Beast boot mod the same… or are they interchangeable?

    I suspect this will probably get worked out when you have a pair yourself, but couldn’t help but ask.

    Thanks as always!

  15. geist September 3rd, 2014 1:53 am

    Any price indications in europe?! nervous to jump on a new tech product but someones got to pioneer these things

  16. JoMo September 3rd, 2014 3:30 am

    Release will be 14/15 or 15/16?

    I’m waiting to replace a binding I broke last season, but I don’t know if I can wait till 15/16…

    Use would be Tours&In Bounds skiing days, so this is a very good option. I don’t trust much Dynafits for In Bounds skiing…

  17. Brian September 3rd, 2014 4:40 am

    I have to run my Duke heels at 13. Any plans for a Kingpin 16? I’m skeptical that the Kingpin 13 can hold me in.

    Thoughts on vertical elasticity and retention when compared to the Beast 14/16?

  18. Andrew September 3rd, 2014 9:40 am

    It looks neat-o, but I’m glad Dynafit is still making tried & true 100% touring bindings.I think the classic TLT line epitomizes the Saint-Exupery design philosophy of “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

    I also have to wonder about the idea of forcing a pin binding to serve resort and freeride demands. It’s like modifying a Vespa to compete in the Baja 1000 – there are better platforms to start with.

  19. Lou Dawson 2 September 3rd, 2014 9:51 am

    Nieve surfer, most certainly I’m waiting for comparo in my workshop. Biggest differences are obvious: Beast toe rotates, Kingpin toe does not rotate; Beast uses heel pins inserted from rear, Kingpin does not. Kingpin has an edge on rolling deflection due to the heel unit being so wide and stable, but Beast is pretty danged stiff so any difference in actual ski performance could be psychological for all but the strongest and most sensitive skiers. To be fair, I’m also waiting for latest retail versions of Beast for my testing. I’m quite looking forward to this winter for more eval and use of these products. Our situation at WildSnow HQ and Field HQ is better than ever for a winter of real backcountry gear testing and bench evaluations. All I’m lacking is a dynamometer and that’s perhaps getting taken care of.

    Weird thought: If Beast and Kingpin start to look similar in terms of real-world performance, could we be getting to the point where pintech tech bindings are like alpine bindings? When most people really don’t care if they’re on a Marker or Salomon or whatever, so long as they can ski down the hill on it? Could be happening. Heck, it’s been 30 years, is that enough time to figure out a binding system?


  20. Charlie September 3rd, 2014 10:38 am

    I think we’re already at that point – the Dynafit/pintech system is largely commoditized. With another few years for the new entries to work out their kinks, a pintech binding will be a pintech binding. Click, stomp, click, stomp, ski.

    It’ll be fun to see how these new Marker-like bindings work out. With a bunch of skis drilled and inserted for the older-style Dynafit pattern, it’ll be a long time before I switch.

    Any chance they’ll let you fill one of the new Marker heelpieces with dirt/grit to see how things will go after a season or two of skiing all year?

    Happy turns!

  21. Flakes September 3rd, 2014 11:10 am

    I think the new Kingpin gives us a the possibility to build a setup for every condition on a “small budget”.

    For resort, sidecountry and freeride tours you can use the normal Kingpin mounteted with inserts.

    For long tours or traverses just swap the Kingpin heel for a dynafit speed radical or even a speed superlite heel.

  22. ptor September 3rd, 2014 1:12 pm

    Bindings are like cameras…you buy one and then there’s an even better one a couple months later. 😉

  23. Lou Dawson 2 September 3rd, 2014 1:24 pm

    Flakes, very cool idea. One has to wonder if perhaps something could be made that used rhe Marker heel plate as a base.

  24. Ryan September 3rd, 2014 3:29 pm

    Wow! Impressive conceptually, I will love to see how it does after a year of testing.

    The tech binding market can finally be called crowded with all the new entrants in the last 3 years. The big question is when/if prices go down?

  25. Andrew September 4th, 2014 10:18 pm

    Ryan – the Dynafit Speed Turn is $240 at full-pop retail and may be less elsewhere. Seems pretty cheap to me.

  26. Robert Campbell September 10th, 2014 11:19 am

    I may have missed this detail. Does the Kingpin release in uphill mode? With Dynafit you pretty much need to be locked in when touring, but you’ll have no release, particularly if caught in a slide while traveling uphill.

  27. Pablo September 26th, 2014 2:17 am

    are the crampons swapables with Dynafit ones?
    Can we use Dynafit crampons with Kingpin??



  28. Lou Dawson 2 September 26th, 2014 6:36 am

    Pablo, super question. I think we should wait till retail Kingpin to get the definitive answer but I suspect it will be so, and if not an easy mod. BTW I checked and Marker still says “some time in December” for their beta retail launch. Lou

  29. Pablo September 26th, 2014 7:08 am

    Thanks Lou.
    I was just talking about it with Silvia (from Spain) who was with you at the Kingpin presentation in Chile.
    Silvia and I works together here in Spain (at and she told me that she meets you there!

    It was on schedule that I travel to chile too, but finally I have too much work to go.


  30. tim October 3rd, 2014 3:14 pm

    So…. was contemplating vipecs for some new skis, I’m pretty sure I’m going to run Kingpins instead. UK retailers are saying Mid december for availability… if they work I’ll be using quiver killers and fitting them to my other skis….if they don’t they’ll be going on EBAY….from an engineering/design perspective, I love what they are doing… the solution of using an alpine heel with a tech toe is blindingly obvious….now they show it to us. Question …. will I need to use the heel piece with Dynafit Vulcan boots?

  31. Jürgen October 15th, 2014 8:22 am

    Hi guys,
    I was born in Garmisch-Partenkirchen – and still live here – where Hannes Marker invented the first alpine safety binding back a couple of decades, ran a production plant till everything went to Asia and Marker finally became part of K2.
    So it´s quite clear that I grew up on Marker bindings nd watch any developments curiously. When I started skinning 5 years ago, weight was the main focus and tech bindings the only way to go. No Marker accordingly.
    I appreciate Marker now to also offer the tech route and consider freeride and alpine skis to equip with Kinpin- but have two questions left which concern me:

    1. Lou, am I right that pin based binding toes usually do not have to match any pressures from the heel parts ? In my Radicals that´s obvious as the gap between boot heel and binding needs to be tuned correctly to make up for deflection of the skis, Marker alpine heel bindings usually get loaded when you step in. The load is distributed to the front, which has to take it like an anchor.
    Is this treated diffently now in the King Pin as I can´t see any loading in the video !? What about flex/deflection compensation ?

    2. Does DIN testing cover any side flexibility thresholds or does it “just” guarantee for reliable release under defined conditions ? Would it unveil unintended release ?

    thanks and best regards from german alps – in nice golden fall suites !

  32. Lou Dawson 2 October 15th, 2014 8:49 am

    Hi Jürgen, most conventional tech bindings (with toes using Dynafit boot fittings) are not designed for loading of much forward nor backward pressure that would exert on the toe fittings. Ski flex is compensated for in various ways, with basic tech binding there is a gap between boot heel and binding heel that allows the ski to flex. With Marker, Vipec, Beat etc. the binding heel rides on a track just as conventional alpine bindings. A common mistake is to over-think in trying to compare frameless touring bindings to alpine bindings.

    As for DIN, my recollection is that rolling deflection (wobble) of the boot and binding is tested for, as is release and shock absorption. My opinion is that the DIN13992 standard that the bindings are tested to has some valid components, but it’s just a standard and thus may not apply evenly to all bindings. In other words, there might be a binding that actually works quite well but in a different way than TUV would test for to ascertain compliance to DIN13992. For example, Vipec doesn’t have TUV cert but other than former problems with the adjustable toe pin it appears to function quite well. Or consider Trab, who decided to not mess with TUV at all and just go their own way. Thus, my advice is to not make a god out of TUV or DIN. Also know that TUV certification is as much about legal protection for liability as it is for real-world performance guarantees.


  33. Peter October 21st, 2014 1:10 pm

    Lou, I just bought pair of DPS 112RP2s and will be ordering a pair of Dynafit Vulcan’s for a new AT set up. I am totally torn between the Marker Kingpin 13 and the Dynafit Beast 14/16. Putting aside “year one risk” for the kingpin, weight advantages/disadvantages, price, and frankly anything uphill related, which binding is going to have better skiing performance on the way down? Do you think the Marker heel piece is going to have a noticeable performance difference than the DB16 on hard packed groomers? If someone lands backseat off a 15 ft drop, is one binding going to perform significantly better? Thanks for the help.

  34. Lou Dawson 2 October 21st, 2014 1:42 pm

    Peter, I think they’ll feel the same while skiing. More, the 15 foot drop kick test will probably be similar as well, and have more to do with what DIN the bindings are set at. Kind of a difficult question, asking what’s been in retail for a while to compare to something that’s never been sold to the public (grin). Lou

  35. John January 9th, 2015 10:08 pm

    If you mount too close to the reinforcement edge, or partiatially through the edge, you will loose the integrity of the mechanical interface of the screw threads. You will then have to rely on a chemical interface (I suggest a high strength epoxy) to hold the threads of which ever threaded fastener you choose. Unfortunately, the threaded interface wins in strength. Further complicating mounting to the BMT is hollow channels running the length of the ski. I have found the VWerks reinforcement to be one of the strongest for screw retention. By moving off center you will weaken the H pattern reinforcement plate.
    I threw away my Volk reinforcement pattern after I found some Kingpin bindings, so I don’t have the measurements.
    My next choice was the G3 Ion,because the hole line up better.

  36. Dirk February 21st, 2015 10:58 am

    Can anyone confirm 100% that Dynafit crampons fir the KingPin?

  37. Greg Louie February 21st, 2015 11:39 am

    @Dirk: I haven’t skied them, but I’ve stuck several Dynafit crampons in Kingpins on a demo board and they seem perfect.

  38. John February 21st, 2015 12:50 pm

    Like they are made exactly to fit!

  39. Lou Dawson 2 February 21st, 2015 1:38 pm

    Yeah they fit. Also, I just tried some B&D crampons and they work as well. Lou

  40. Dirk February 22nd, 2015 1:15 am

    Thanks for confirming that!

  41. Dawid Johansson March 16th, 2015 7:21 am

    Please be aware that the Kingpin isn’t compatible with the Salomon Quest Series. The toe is too big so in a kick turn you might loose the ski and if you slide down on your knee the toepiece will release :(

    Learned that the hard way up to Floria in Chamonix. I’ve notified both Marker and Salomon on their facebook sites but no response from either…

    Cheers Dawid (living in Argentiere during the 2015 season)

  42. Lou Dawson 2 March 16th, 2015 7:43 am

    Dawid, thanks for chiming in with that. Incompatibility with boot toe shapes is a common problem with tech bindings. Should always be checked on the bench before skiing. Lou

  43. Dawid Johansson March 16th, 2015 10:12 am

    I know that now, i’m new to tech bindings. I bought the boots and the bindings at two different stores and time. Jules at Sanglard, Chamonix has a friend at Salomon R&D that he tried to reach, will talk to him later and see what info he got. And Rob at Namaste, Argentiere called Marker and they said that they have riders with Salomon boots… so they where suprised about this issue.

    Well… to be continued :)

  44. Gary September 22nd, 2015 1:25 pm

    Has anyone mounted Kingpin on a ski that had Dynafit ST on them? How much might they have to be moved forward or back.

  45. Lou Dawson 2 September 22nd, 2015 4:18 pm

    Gary, I haven’t covered the hole pattern issue much because I believe it’s for the most part a non issue. For example, a Dynafit Vertical ST/FT toe hole pattern will not overlap Kinpin toe hole pattern given you located boot position same with either binding. Kingpin heel has forward-back position adjustment, so in the rare event it did overlap slightly, its position can be tweaked by mounting a bit farther forward or back and simply compensating with the binding adjustment.

    With Radical heel, same thing. No problem due to ability to customize heel position due to adjustable forward-back.

    Radical toe, with boot in exact same position on ski, rear pair of holes are nicely separated, front pair of Radical holes DOES OVERLAP Kingpin holes.

    Move Kingpin toe back about 5 mm and you won’t have any trouble with overlap of Radical toe holes.

    I’m sitting here with both bindings on my lap. I had to kick out the gal who was sitting on my lap, bindings are more important.


  46. sbpoint October 19th, 2015 11:32 am

    Along the lines of Flakes post from 9/3/14, do you think it would be possible to run the Kingpin heel with a Warden toe? It could potentially make swapping from tour compatible to downhill performance/safety with only a quick toe piece swap. Assuming the stack height are similar, I’m curious if the lateral heel release would play nicely with a traditional downhill toe?

  47. Lou Dawson 2 October 19th, 2015 12:05 pm

    No. The Kingpin heel is designed to work with the unique geometry of tech pins and sockets at the toe. Running it with an alpine toe could probably be made to ski to at least some extent, but retention characteristics would be unknown, as would actual release values. That said, it would be an interesting experiment. If the setup worked and could be calibrated, and didn’t pre-release, it could possibly offer some additional protection of the knee soft tissue due to it releasing laterally at both toe and heel, thus perhaps having no “Rick Howell blind spots.” But as Rick has always said and is indeed stating the obvious, the FIRST purpose of a ski binding is to attach you to the ski and keep you there without pre-release!!!

    Thing to remember is that skiers such as Stian and Davenport are pushing Kingpin quite hard and it’s working. Albeit one should keep in mind that the heel unit does rotate left-right to effect lateral release, and thus when set to chart DIN values can never be as inherently stable as a heel unit that doesn’t rotate. Reality.


  48. Lou Dawson 2 October 19th, 2015 12:09 pm

    BTW all landing here, remember we’ve put up quite a few additional Kingpin posts, for example our DIY mounting tips.


  49. sbpoint October 19th, 2015 12:30 pm

    Lou, I had a feeling it would influence release values. I’m planning to do inserts for both here shortly and may experiment and test them out on a shop machine prior to snow. I’ll share what I come up with. I’d like to be able to run downhill boots on the skis and like the idea of a quicker easier swap. Maybe I just need burlier AT boots….

  50. Lou Dawson 2 October 19th, 2015 1:00 pm

    I doubt the shop machine will test properly, with the binding letting go at both heel and toe like that… be careful. I’m all for innovation and mods, but this sounds kinda manky to me. Would love to be proven wrong (grin). Guest blogger?! Lou

  51. sbpoint October 19th, 2015 1:22 pm

    Guest blogger….maybe with a limp:)

  52. Lou Dawson 2 October 19th, 2015 1:33 pm


  53. Jonathan Robert Adams November 7th, 2015 9:28 pm

    I hope to combine the Marker Kingpin heel piece to the Meidjo toe piece for the next version of Frankentele. Does anyone know if this has been tried successfully or it the are any inherent flaws that have not been conquered?

    Also where or how can Kingpin the rental plates be obtained?

  54. Aaron November 19th, 2015 3:46 pm

    Hi Lou and all. Do any of you know if the KingPin 10 and KingPin 13 toe pieces are identical and have the same springs and release, retention values in the toes. …or does the KingPin 13 have stronger springs in the toe piece?

  55. Lou Dawson 2 November 19th, 2015 5:39 pm

    This is one of the mysteries of the universe at this time. Since you asked, I’ll ramp up my testing program. Perhaps I can get an answer tomorrow. The two do have different colored springs for 2015-2016. My guess is they are the “same” (meaning the strength of the springs will fall within a tolerance range). But you never know… and we shouldn’t talk about it before we measure it, otherwise we’ll get scolded by Cam.

  56. See November 19th, 2015 7:10 pm

    I think getting some data regarding the size of the “tolerance range” for same model bindings would be interesting, and what the effects of wear, dirt contamination and lubrication are. My very crude attempts to measure a few bindings leads me to suspect that they may be all over the map.

  57. ted November 25th, 2015 10:35 am

    sbpoint- If you mount a warden toe piece and test it I’d love to know the results.
    Following Rick’s posts closely, it seems that it would theoretically provide both acl injury protection and tibia fx protection. If it works, combined with a cast plate it would provide a great solution to the 1 setup travel system for those of us who resort ski and tour on the same trip. Conversely, it could also become a nightmare of prereleases! Please keep us updated!

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