Autumn 2015 UPDATE: Apparently Marker has worked out their manufacturing and they’ve gone back to using a toe pin without the knurled “star” pattern that was visible on the inside of the binding wings during winter-spring of 2015. It appears these newest version binding toes are easily identified by having grey springs instead of black. See photo below.
January 23 UPDATE, upgraded toe units are shipping, see below for illustration.
Below statement from Marker came in January 22.
“The Marker KINGPIN is a brand new and innovative ski touring binding. The first very limited series of production (early-intro production) was delivered during December 2014. After two years of testing we are very confident that the Marker KINGPIN is not only innovative and a big step forward in terms of protection, performance and comfort but also a very well-tested pintech binding.
However, we found out during some routine quality checks and due to feedback from limited Marker KINGPIN users that there were a few cases where the press-fit of the toe pins inside the sole holders were not to Marker standards. In extensive lab testing we discovered that there have been a few cases where the toes were assembled incorrectly. This led to those pins moving (like shown in Lou’s picture).
As a response we have already changed the production process and improved the quality control to ensure a perfect press-fit of the toe pins.
We recommend that users check the toes of their Marker KINGPIN bindings. If the pins have moved please contact your authorized Marker dealer to get immediately a free exchange toe.
Thanks for your understanding!
Your Marker team.”
Original post below, from January 19, 2015
Reports about a possible problem with Marker Kingpin have filtered in. We recently received what appears to be a legitimate report from J.K., who states in an email, with photos, that he experienced the toe pins coming loose in the binding toe wings resulting in the binding eventually ceasing to function correctly. He points out that if this problem occurs in the midst of a ski run, it could be a safety issue. I’m not sure how this should be dealt with. If you’re using Kingpins, pay attention to how your bindings look, as well as how they feel on your feet.
We will contact Marker today and see what they say. If this is indeed a problem, it’s an understandable manufacturing defect as it’s not exactly easy to press steel parts into aluminum and have them stay there. Thus, Marker’s pre-retail bindings could all have been fine, while the retail manufactured version could very well have an intermittent defect. How it should be dealt with by Marker and by binding users is an open question. More soon we hope.
Here is more info from J.K.
— 184 Volkl k\Katana V-Werks
— Tecnica Cochise pro 130
— I am 6’0″ 175 lbs, expert skier
This failure occurred after two days of light use at Snowmass, Colorado going both uphill and down. Prior to this I was on Volkl Nanuqs with Radical ST’s and had been skiing that setup the same way as this for three seasons with no issues. I bought the Kingpin bindings online from a shop back east as soon as they were available for retail purchase.
While most of the WildSnow backcountry skiing blog posts are best attributed to a single author, some work well as done by the group.