Marker Kingpin Vs. Dynafit Radical FT 2.0


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | October 23, 2015      

Randy Young

Fight of the century? Dynafit Radical 2.0 vs Marker Kingpin? Or are these too different for a matchup?

Fight of the century? Dynafit Radical 2.0 vs Marker Kingpin? Or are these too different for a matchup? Click all images to enlarge.

An especially hot topic this fall has been the Marker Kingpin vs the Dynafit Radical 2.0. And the question is, “Which one is right for me?” Ski touring binding choice isn’t easy between what often seem to be similar gear and brands. Marker and Dynafit don’t make it any easier.

As a backcountry ski shop owner (Cripple Creek Backcountry), I spend a chunk of the winter going to trade shows and demos, testing all of the new boots, skis and bindings. Result: I can make a highly informed guess about the right gear for each unique backcountry skier. Here is how I’d attempt to sort out the Kingpin vs Radical dilemma for a customer.

Over the past several years, backcountry tech bindings have improved by leaps and bounds. Dynafit headed the charge, but other brands are catching up — or, perhaps have caught up? The fierce competition for the 2015-16 season is definitely Marker Kingpin vs Dynafit Radical FT 2.0. In one corner we have Dynafit: the old guard of the touring world who continues to up their game and release cutting edge gear. In the other corner we have Marker, a brand with a rich alpine heritage and some touring experience, jumping in with touring gear so good they’ve already cut themselves a large piece of the backcountry pie, even if they’re crashing an acquaintance’s birthday party.

Maker made a big splash last year with a “limited release” of the Kingpin and they were the first to tout a “tech” or “pin tech” binding with TUV-DIN certification to DIN/ISO standard 13992 for ski touring bindings. This was big news, but what was really catching everyone’s eye was the unusual appearance of this binding compared to previous tech bindings. The 6-pack spring set in the toe is certainly more confidence inspiring than traditional tech toes, and the heel is basically an alpine heel using a vertical release spring and lever that appears to be sourced from other Marker full-on alpine bindings. Lou had a frankenbinding like this in his workshop for years. I hope he got some of the patent rights on the Kingpin (but really I think it’s just for punching boots, shhh).

Kingpin offers the standard three climbing heights, with the usual touring lock at the toe. It comes with a DIN of 5-10 (aka Kingpin 10) or 6-13 (aka Kingpin 13) and has brake options to fit 75-100mm or 100-125mm. The binding has advertised weight of 730g with a brake and 650g without.

Lou did rudimentary, but noteworthy testing on the various tech binding toes and did not find the 6-pack spring to be significantly stronger than a standard 4-spring toe (he says he’s a bit mystified as to what purpose the extra springs serve, but he trusts Marker engineers to have “done what works.”)

Getting technical, Lou explains that in his opinion another engineering concern with Kingpin is that the more you depend on the heel unit to provide strong retention and calibrated release, the less spring action you can build into the toe due to unreliability of the boot toe tech fittings. Thus, while the Marker “six pack” looks good, there is a practical limit to how tight they can and should clamp your boot.

As a shop owner, I want to emphasize that when you depend on a tech binding to protect your legs from injury, you’re depending on the metal-to-metal ball-socket action of the binding toe pins. If that assembly catches or otherwise creates “jerky” release, the binding may not be providing the protection you’re assuming it does. The only way to test this is on the bench, both with hand checks and with a release calibration checker. Ski shops such as ours specialize in this, and keep our skills tuned by handling hundreds of binding-boot combinations each winter. Note that Dynafit Radical 2.0 is the ONLY tech binding that attempts to eliminate toe fitting problems from the equation. If it functions as intended the rotating toe could thus be a big deal.

The real possible advantage is in the Kingpin heel; it provides forward and downward pressure to the boot. You are not “floating” on heel pins, as some have described pin tech heels, but instead you have a positive force driving your boot into the ski. With a heel that behaves like an alpine heel, it’s perhaps no wonder Kingpin was able to pass certification for repeatable and predictable release and get the DIN/ISO certification. More, when you ski it you can feel the difference.

Marker Kingpin alpine style heel holding the boot to the ski.

Marker Kingpin alpine style heel holding the boot to the ski.

Now over to the snow leopard. Dynafit, try as they might to keep up with the Joneses, or rather the Markers, couldn’t get their binding into the “early retail release” game last year. But the Radical ST and FT 2.0 have arrived in full regalia this year. This binding was the featured item on the Dynafit homepage for a month at least, and for good reason. The Radical 2.0 has also received the TUV DIN/ISO 13990 certification.

Dynafit Radical ST 2.0 has an advertised weight of 599g with a DIN range of 4-10 while the Radical FT 2.0 has an advertised weight of 630g with a DIN range of 5-12. Both have varying brake width options (refer to comparison chart below). For the sake of comparison we’ll stick with including brakes in our weights, though Kingpin has a brakeless option and the brake could be cut off a Radical 2.0.

While having less consumer vetting than the Kingpin due to its late release, I can say with nearly 100% confidence that the Radical 2.0 advantage is the rotating toe. For the safety reasons we allude to above, but also for the exact opposite reason the Kingpin gets kudos. Instead of being ultra rigid, it’s a bit less so.

Here is one way of looking at it: A ski instructor came into our shop and said it is more difficult to learn to ski on traditional tech bindings because they are too rigid and ski too exact due to the way they attach at the toe. I agree. My knees and ankles quiver at the thought of the rigidity of tech bindings — especially since skiing with the toes locked has become so commonplace. However, the Dynafit Radical 2.0 toe has about 5mm of rotation to each side (and that’s only if you ski with the toes in ski mode; the rotation locks out if you engage the touring lock). Without depending on the boot fittings sliding over steel pins, this provides a more consistent, predictable elasticity and release. Presumably, the binding can handle sudden loading, i.e. landing a jump, and return to center without releasing. With this bit of rotation the tech toe is more dynamic to match a sport that is, well, dynamic.

Caveat is that the ski binding industry has for years attempted to build bindings with side (lateral) release at the heel — with limited success. Indeed, perhaps the only success of such bindings has been the Barthel tech binding design. As any experienced tech binding user can testify, even the best tech bindings up to this juncture are not alpine bindings. But almost none of those tech bindings had the unique pivoting tech toe of the Radical 2.0, which combines both spring action and rotation. Thus, we’re confident that Radical 2.0 could indeed be “alpine like.” (Dynafit Beast has a rotation toe, but we’re not covering Beast in this article.)

The rotating toe piece of Dynafit Radical 2.0.  This range of motion is designed to be helpful under force i.e. landing after catching some air, skiing bumps.

The rotating toe piece of Dynafit Radical 2.0. This range of motion is designed to be helpful under force i.e. landing after catching some air, skiing bumps.

Binding weight chart, Kingpin and Radical.

Binding weight chart, Kingpin and Radical.

So, how to decide which one is right for you?

First, let’s ask the important question: What’s the intended use? If you’re looking for a bomber everyday touring binding then my advice is always lighter is righter. Go with the Radical 2.0 —- if you have to carry something up 3,000 feet, you want the lightest set-up possible. Every gram counts. I weigh 160 lbs, ski aggressively (and it’s not pretty) and always have my bindings set to a release value (RV – DIN) of 8. I would go with the ST version since I do not need a higher range for a DIN setting. This choice saves me weight and a few dollars. Also, in full disclosure, I’ve skied Dynafit bindings in the backcountry for the last six years, and at the resort and backcountry for the last four. I am used to them and like the way they perform. If you’re used to traditional tech bindings and they work for you, why change? (Indeed, while we’re talking Radical 2.0 here, many ski tourers who enjoy minimalist tech bindings will no doubt be sticking with less complex and lighter bindings such as Dynafit Speed Radical.)

However, let’s say you were buying your first touring set-up or what would be your only set-up for the season. I would recommend Kingpin. The “step-in” performance of the alpine-style heel will be a benefit for days at the resort. Also, the Marker heel really allows you to power the tails of the skis to drive hard through a turn. This is especially important if you’re used to that same feel in an alpine binding, and don’t want to adjust your timing and technique for a softer heel. What is more, people tend to ski a more high-speed hard-driving style at the resort, and using a touring binding for such has always been problematic. Kingpin easily supports that style of skiing.

So, there you have it, hopefully a bit more insight into this season’s toughest head-to head gear match. And if you happen to be in the Roaring Fork Valley this season, stop by Cripple Creek Backcountry for a beer and some gear talk.



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Comments

139 Responses to “Marker Kingpin Vs. Dynafit Radical FT 2.0”

  1. Peete October 23rd, 2015 10:52 am

    Why not compare to the ION??? Ah because the ION is the best choice of these three!!

  2. JCoates October 23rd, 2015 10:53 am

    Cool, non-biased review Randy. Thanks.

  3. Arnaud October 23rd, 2015 11:00 am

    Thanks for the review!
    In your opinion, how would a frankenbinding consisting of a Radical 2.0 toa and kingpin heel ski? Alpine feel on the toe and heel?
    That would be, of course, if money was not an issue 🙂
    Anyhow, I have to say that I have started to love the feel of my radical both in bound and outbound. Yes you do feel every single thing going under your skis, but I also find them pretty quick and responsive, and demand more finesse to ski in the bumps in order not to release!
    Cheers!

  4. Randy October 23rd, 2015 11:03 am

    Peete I’d probably match the Ion against the standard radical FT’s and ST’s and I agree that the Ions would come out quite favorably in a comparison.

  5. Jeremy C October 23rd, 2015 11:17 am

    I assume that you would include the Dynafit Beast 14/16 rotating toe, in the statement “Note that Dynafit Radical 2.0 is the ONLY tech binding that attempts to eliminate toe fitting problems from the equation.”?

  6. Lou Dawson 2 October 23rd, 2015 12:07 pm

    Peete, indeed, why not? Because the customers tend to ask Randy about Kingpin vs Radical 2.0. All of you are welcome to comment with any comparo opinions you want.

    Jeremy, yes, I edited a bit, thanks for the feedback. Beast does rotate at the toe and presumably has the same effect. Comparo uses Radical 2.0 as it’s almost the same weight as Kingpin, and again, is what Randy is being asked about.

    Lou

  7. XXX_er October 23rd, 2015 12:42 pm

    Pricing seems to be all over the map but direct compro On BC.com I make the Kingpin out to be 100$ more than the ION or RAD 2.0 which are the direct competition

  8. Randy October 23rd, 2015 12:56 pm

    Arnaud, I think that Lou has mentioned that Marker was initially kicking around the idea of a rotating toe, but ultimately moved away from it. I’d bet Marker will revisit this soon and since it’s the first year for these bindings parting them out could prove tricky.

  9. Lou Dawson 2 October 23rd, 2015 1:37 pm

    Yes indeed, engineer in Chile at intro event even had some prototypes with rotating toe… So long as the tech fittings work smoothly, the rotating toe is less key in my opinion. But as we’ve blogged about many times, it’s been hard for the industry to standardize the tech fittings. In fact, there is still no official standard! If Volkswagen could have only been so lucky! TUV states on their certificates for DIN cert that it only applies to Dynafit approved fittings! That means your bindings are NOT TUV if used with boots that don’t have Dynafit fittings — they they might work just the same, if the fittings are good. Lou

  10. Brian October 23rd, 2015 1:39 pm

    I think there is too much emphasis on the weight of each of these bindings. The Kingpin is definitely “heavier” but its not really noticeable if you are using a light touring boot and touring ski with them.

    What is more important IMO is reliability in the field and ease of use. I agree with the assessment above in that if you are a new-be then the Kingpin is the way to go. This was my position last year when I purchased a pair before a trip to the Selkirks (not new to touring, but a convert from the tele world). They worked flawlessly and were well within the ballpark as far as weight with my set up (Scarpa Freedom SLs/Voile V8s) vs everyone on the trip that had Dynafit. The heel piece is great when I was in a tough spot on a transition in that I could just step in the toe and stomp the heel for a positive lock and load. Also, as noted above, the power in the turn feels just like your alpine binding. Why would you give that up?

  11. Don Gorsegner October 23rd, 2015 1:45 pm

    I’ve been on Silveretta Easy Goes /555 for years, they weigh in at 1.5 lbs per binding. As the years go by I am looking at lighter set-ups, The lighter the better. Big air only happens in my outtings if you pull my finger. With that said I have no need for big beefy bindings. I’m leaning towards every ounce saved, Carbon Ski’s with Dynafit speed bindings.

  12. Randy October 23rd, 2015 2:13 pm

    Brian, emphasis on weight is all about who you ask. I agree these bindings are all within the same range so that it does not need to be a huge differentiator, but there are many who count every gram (and are probably skiing a much lighter binding than either of these).

  13. Harry October 23rd, 2015 2:57 pm

    I was comparing the two yesterday, Aside from coming to the conclusion that I have tomount a rotating toe piece to a kingpin heel for at least one day this year, I also got to thinking about on center force.

    Feel wise, at equal indicated RV (can we say DINs now for these?), both rotating by hand and whacking on the heel of a boot, it seemed like the Marker had less deflection from small impacts, similar to what I imagine the normal forces on a loaded ski over an non smooth surface is.

    That increased center force would mean less rattling around of the pins in the cups, which has been one of the causes of the floaty less confidence inspiring feel of traditional pintech bindings while charging on hard snow, Independent of hanging up upon release. To my understanding it was also a driver for stronger toe springs.

    I skiied at least 10 resort days on the Kingpin 13 last year and it was amazing.

    “the Marker heel really allows you to power the tails of the skis to drive hard through a turn ”

    To me that was noticeable on turn one.

    I look forward to trying a few days both resort and touring on the Radical 2.0, although I doubt they will replace my Speed Turn for most of my touring. I love the weight and simplicity.

  14. Lou Dawson 2 October 23rd, 2015 3:06 pm

    Harry, you can only say “DIN” if you’re using a boot with Dynafit approved toe fittings. (grin)

    Seriously, proof of this is what feels best to you while skiing, and suites your style.

    I’d emphasize that it’s super important with Kingpin to make sure the boot toe fittings don’t hang up during elasticity and release. Easy to test on the bench.

    Lou

  15. David Aldous October 23rd, 2015 6:23 pm

    Playing with a kingpin binding at a local shop we noticed that rockered sole boots wouldn’t sit flat on the binding because the sole ran into the springs and back of the toe piece. It happened with sportiva and dynafit boots but k2 pinnacles didn’t have the interference. Has anyone else seen this issue?

  16. See October 23rd, 2015 8:48 pm

    Haven’t been thinking much about bindings lately, but I’d say the key line is “(w)ithout depending on the boot fittings sliding over steel pins, this (rotating toe) provides a more consistent, predictable elasticity and release.” I still wouldn’t expect any non-frame touring binding to perform to alpine binding standard for going downhill.

  17. See October 23rd, 2015 9:02 pm

    To be clear: I haven’t actually skied anything newer than Verticals and Tour F12’s.

  18. Mark Worley October 24th, 2015 6:32 am

    I was playing around with the rotating toe of the Radical 2.0 yesterday, and it feels really unusual for a tech binding. Could potentially really be a good design change. If so, I’ll bet similar innovations will come to other bindings.

  19. Mark Worley October 24th, 2015 6:41 am

    Harry, I have never had the pins-rattling-in-toe-fittings you describe in using Dynafit bindings, but quite the opposite actually. With so many boot/ binding combinations, I can see this might be likely. In my experience, plate bindings have had more “play” than tech offerings, but in my own skiing experience, neither really causes me much concern. Some people are more sensitive or perceptive about this than others.

  20. Apingaut October 24th, 2015 6:53 am

    ^^
    See, I totally agree.

    I made the conversion to tech binding last year after 15 years of tele and was severely dissapointed with the tech binding. Growing up as a ski racier in the Eastern USA I saw ice chutes ending glorious GS turns on Mount Washington in my future. Only to find out I needed to “adjust your timing and technique for a softer heel”.

    The experiment was disastrous and I don’t not trust these “new” tech bindings to have fixed it. Maybe it was my fault but I really fell that it was not widely advertised how different a tech binding skis. Tech is “alpine like” at best and should come with a tag that said “adjust your timing and technique for a softer heel”

    On a side note but about the soft heel, the binding delta angle / ramp the Lou2 keeps track of (thank you for this), I think is designed to keep you on your toes and off your heels. So when these new bindings have so much ramp (reportedly, looking at you marker) I trust the release / rention even less because an alpine binding has little to no ramp, and can because it releases at the toe.

  21. Rick Howell October 24th, 2015 8:00 am

    .

    To all fellow skiers: Due to legal reasons, I cannot say anything about one of the two bindings that are being discussed here.

    However, I can say this: a toe that “rotates” about it’s own vertical axis has NOTHING to do with ordinary alpine binding function. View the 3-picture sequence, above: in the Dynafit Radical, the boot CANNOT release laterally (sideways / ‘lateral-translation’) at the toe under ANY circumstances. Never. No boot can release laterally through the pins of the Dynafit Radical toe (only one pin binding provides lateral toe release: Diamir Vipec: after lateral elasticty, the related Vipec pin flops downward to allow release — though, unfortunately, all pin-bindings can, including the Diamir Vipec, produce a ‘double release’. We get to break our legs twice in pin bindings).

    Alpine bindings release LATERALLY at the toe: only one alpine binding allows boot-relative-to-ski ROTATION at the toe: KneeBinding. Rotation about a point and ‘lateral-translation’ about a point are 2 completely different things. Dynafit Radical toes do not provide lateral-translation at the toe. A boot cannot release laterally at the toe with a Dynafit Radical toe. The ‘rotation’ provided by the Dynafit Radical toes works in concert with the lateral-translation of the Dynafit heel: it works together with Dynafit’s lateral heel release.

    Why is this significant?

    Because (see Jason Borro’s review of tech bindings here in Wildsnow) ski binding ‘release’ (alpine, or pin) is about mitigating biomechanical failure. When a boot cannot release laterally at the toe, torque is generated about the long axis of the tibia. Non-lateral toe release creates a ‘blind-spot’ that produces torque about the tibia — depending upon where on the ski, an applied lateral force enters the ski, on-snow. This huge effect is clearly shown in the graphs in Jason Borro’s article elsewhere here in Wildsnow. In order to mitigate torque about the tibia — independently of where the the applied lateral force enters the ski — a binding must allow the boot to ROTATE (relative to the ski) about the heel.

    Ironically, lateral heel release (found in all pin bindings except Diamir Vipec) attempts to mitigate ACL and MCL injuries (the magnitude of lateral heel release must be properly calibrated to do that). For more on that topic, again, please go to Jason Boro’s article that’s found elsewhere here in Wildsnow.

    Optimally, therefore, a binding should provide lateral release at the toe (to mitigate tibia fracture) AND lateral release at the heel (to mitigate ACL / MCL rupture) — WITHOUT pre-release. There are only 2 bindings that provide both lateral toe release and lateral heel release. They are both alpine bindings. One is on the market now (KneeBinding) the other will be introduced in a few years. Again, however, any binding that offers any given mode of release must also mitigate pre-release in that same mode, whether it is a pin binding or an alpine binding. Pre-release can cause injuries that are far worse than no-release. (‘Elasticity’ is only one small aspect of a binding’s ability to address pre-release.)

    Lou’s ‘frankenbinding’ provides no lateral release at the toe or the heel: it will easily cause tibia fracture or ACL / MCL rupture — depending upon where along the length of the ski a lateral force enters the ski, on-snow, during an injury-producing fall.

    Further, please read the printed information that’s on the bottom of the binding manufacturer’s boxes. The ‘certification’ by TÜV regarding the above mentioned binding is in respect to ISO 9462, NOT in respect to the ISO standard that is written in this article. Additionally, as a co-author of ISO 9462 — the issue of pin-bindings relative to ISO 9462 is being discussed at this moment (Oct, 2015) at an ISO meeting in Vienna (that meeting includes the member countries with national standards, DIN, ASTM, AfNOR, Ö-Norms, etc.). That’s all I can say about that subject, too, due to legal reasons.

    Lastly, when thinking about the functional requirements of a binding, it’s best to think in terms of the effect on the human body. Measuring just lateral toe release or just lateral heel release is ‘binding myopic’. Those measurements have nothing to do with what’s happening to the human body unless they are cross-referenced to other appropriate conversion metrics.

    Rick Howell
    President,
    Howell Ski Bindings (2017)
    Stowe, Vermont USA
    .

  22. Lou Dawson 2 October 24th, 2015 8:52 am

    Thanks Rick, I hope you and others know that the “frankenbinding” is a boot holding fixture for doing boot fitting work, not in any way intended for skiing. It’s just a basis for discussion and of course a binding such as that used for actual skiing would have zero possibility of releasing to the side (lateral) when necessary to protect the skier from injury. Skiing on it would be incredibly dangerous, with the possibility of life altering permanent injury.

    As for the ISO standards, I’m not sure what “box” you refer to. The tech bindings we discuss here such as Marker Kingpin and Dynafit Radical 2.0 are certified to by TUV to ISO 13992, and ONLY, as it says on the TUV certificate paper: mit “Tech Inserts” entsprechend Dynafit Spezifikationen fur Skischuhe.

    I really appreciate you chiming in and clarifying that even with a rotating toe, the Radical 2.0 is STILL not the same toe release as an alpine binding. At this juncture only two “tech” type bindings have toe units that appear to perform as an alpine binding, that would be the Fritschi Vipec and Trab TR2. The Vipec Black just received TUV cert to 13992. What would be revolutionary is if Vipec or another touring binding could receive certs for BOTH 13992 AND 9462.

    It should be mentioned that Dynafit Beast also appears to have toe wings with a side opening action somewhat similar to alpine bindings, but the toe spring tension is fixed, not user adjustable. I probably should dig into that a bit more on the workbench.

    Perhaps the next certification war within the touring binding industry will be for the first binding to receive both 13992 AND 9462 certifications? The two certs overlap substantially, but still, that would be quite the marketing victory.

    On the whole, as I’ve mentioned before, I should warn readers here that in my opinion the DIN/ISO standards are similar to helmet standards in that they are dated and more of lower end target than some kind of state-of-art design and engineering target. Helmets should exceed current standards, and in my opinion bindings should as well, especially in retention characteristics.

    Lou

  23. ZB October 24th, 2015 10:25 am

    Lou, “It should be mentioned that Dynafit Beast also appears to have toe wings with a side opening action somewhat similar to alpine bindings, but the toe spring tension is fixed, not user adjustable. I probably should dig into that a bit more on the workbench.”

    Very interested in that aspect. Are you thinking of the 14 or 16 there?

  24. Lou Dawson 2 October 24th, 2015 10:47 am

    Both. But…. have to look. Will get on this soon. Lou

  25. Rick Howell October 24th, 2015 10:49 am

    @Lou,

    ISO standards are not outdated. Please read the updates that happen, continuously, all the time! ISO standards are continuously updated by its members. Members are the national standards organizations, including DIN (Germany), ASTM (USA), AfNOR (France), Ö-Norms (Austria), BfU (Switzerland), etc.

    Only the country of Germany has statutory laws that require certification of all consumer products according to it’s own DIN national-standards — by an independent testing lab (that independent lab is TÜV).

    Austria has another legal-process for consumer product safety compliance that’s sort-of similar, to Germany’s process but Austria’s process applies only to products that are placed, after-the-fact, into the Austrian-market that do not meet Germany’s DIN standards.

    TÜV is the world’s only independent testing lab. It is utilized by all of the alpine binding companies, worldwide. Because TÜV is located in Munich, Germany — TÜV tests according to both ISO and DIN.

    FYI — I am voting at ASTM (USA) to make it impossible for any pin binding to meet ISO 9462 and I am voting at ASTM to void ISO 13992 (this will be just only one vote among many … so, it will probably not lead to immediate change at this time). ISO 13992 is biomechanically-incorrect — and it is morally and ethically wrong: ISO 13992 allows leg fractures. In view of the above information (from my posts, here) — I trust that all readers here will come to understand that ISO standards are formed based on what I call “political-engineering”. Typically, Ö-Norms (Austria) votes in alignment with DIN (Germany); and often (though not always) BfU (Switzerland) also votes in alignment with DIN — in the ISO voting process. Each national standards organization is supposed to be comprised of an equal consensus of ‘users’, ‘producers’ and ‘general interest’. ‘User-voters’ are skiers, ‘producer-voters’ are the equipment manufacturers’, and ‘General interest-voters’ are typically academic researchers, medical doctors, and independent research engineers.

    Again, all of these standards are updated, continuously.

    In this regard, the Germanic binding companies (Germany, Austria and some within Switzerland) have a philosophy that ‘release’ is based upon standardized settings (and related-measurements) and that retention is based upon open design (‘open’, though controlled by patents). The French-related binding companies (France and some within Switzerland) have an opposite philosophy — that ‘retention’ is based upon settings (and related-measurements), and that release is based upon open design (though controlled by patents). We USA-Americans have another 3rd philosophy — that the method for testing holds the boot fixed, while test-loads are applied to the ski. (Europeans fix the ski to a bench, then apply the load to the boot, as in ski-shops — but, with many variations of applied-loads based on this theme of fixing the ski to a bench.) These two approaches lead to Very Different results. The USA-American approach of fixing the boot then applying the load to the ski is based upon what happens while skiing: it provides insight on how a binding performs relative to the human body. The European-approach provides insight on binding manufacturing tolerances that are (mostly) independent of what happens to the human body. This leads to clashes at ISO during voting. Further, USA-American standards on this topic (ASTM F-27.1) do not at this time include binding performance requirements, the standard only provides specifications on the test method. Performance-requirements (of varying levels) have been in numerous voting-ballots at ASTM for 35-years because one person (who is soon to retire) dominated the ASTM skiing standards process for 40-years. I will not mention his name because he did provide good work in the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s on skiing safety standards — but he has never understood ‘retention’ and he has not kept up with biomechanical developments pertaining to the knee. I expect that we will have ASTM performance-requirements that accompany the ASTM method-requirements within the next 3-years.

    Unfortunately, Canadians are unrepresented at ISO — but Canadians should become active through an independent Canadian standards organization.

    Lou — Respectfully, I submit that you please study current ISO standards and perform tests according to those standards in order to provide bona fide opinions on the ISO standards. One test at TÜV according to ISO 9462 costs approximately US$16,000 (based on the current currency exchange with the Euro) and takes about 5-days per binding model.

    ((Again, due to legal reasons, I cannot mention the name of the pin binding that references its certification at TÜV according to ISO 9462: this reference is printed on the bottom of their shipping box.))

    That’s my input, today. I’m now heading for a hike on Mt. Mansfield here in Stowe, Vermont on this beautiful day !!

    Respectfully submitted to everyone here at Wildsnow,

    Rick Howell
    President,
    Howell Ski Bindings (2017)
    Stowe, Vermont USA
    .

  26. cam shute October 24th, 2015 11:14 am

    found this article quite emotional, and not based on objective measures. author clearly hasn’t measured other bindings on the market, nor is aware that there are other bindings that take the insert geometry out of the equation (ie. fritshi). also, the ION toe even though it has only 4 springs provides much more pre-release resistance than the marker….but don’t trust me, measure it!

  27. Rick Howell October 24th, 2015 11:56 am

    @ cam. Exactly. I fully agree with everything you say about the above article. There is way too much conjecture in our write-ups here in North America about bindings. We need more measurement-based testing (as in the 1970’s and early 80’s in SKIING magazine) so that skiers can understand binding performance. As I have noted in my other posts here in WildSnow — ‘proper’ measurement-based testing to evaluate binding performance relative to the human body should involve 3 aspects:

    1— Testing according to ISO 9465, 11087 and 9462 Annex-B (Annex B has the boot is fixed by an ‘instrumented leg’ to a test frame — then, simulated loads are applied to the ski. The instrumented leg measures 3 axis: (a) torsion about the long-axis of the leg; (b) forward and aftward bending about the long axis of the leg; and (c) (beyond ISO 9462 Method-B) valgus (the lateral overturning moment).

    2— Standard Industry Practice: 6 large males (220 pounds or more) who ski aggressively all day every day on big mountains in all snow conditions in all temperatures for at least one season — to evaluate ‘retention’ and ‘durability’. This series of #2-tests must only occur AFTER a given binding ‘passes’ the #1-tests, above. Each ‘good’ / major binding company performs a similar version of ‘Standard Industry Practice’ before shipping into the retailer / consumer markets. (Doing this #2-test on children’s binding is more complicated … but that’s off-topic for this thread.)

    3— Special new ‘non-standardized’ test measurements that evaluate bindings according to ‘knee-friendly skiing’. These test methods are presently strongly resisted by the other binding companies ….. because they know they will fail these tests. ‘But someone must illuminate this situation in the way that Jason Borro has done in his excellent article here in WildSnow: [https://www.wildsnow.com/15123/tech-binding-release-testing-acl-broken-leg/].

    When binding reports begin to involve the combination of these three tests — then we will have objective, measurement-based, test reports to properly educate skiers about binding performance. Until then, these ‘reports’ are pure conjecture — often written by people with little or no understanding of physics or engineering training.

    Respectfully,

    Rick Howell
    President,
    Howell Ski Bindings (2017)
    Stowe, Vermont USA
    .

  28. BB October 24th, 2015 12:57 pm

    I have to admit all of the excellent information Rick Howell has provided is great, but I wanted to ask Rick if he backcountry skis or avoids it because of how “unsafe” backcountry bindings are. If he does backcountry ski what type of bindings does he use? Frame, pin, tele or hike with knee bindings? I wonder if the NTN tele bindings may be a safer alternative and I can resume my “fakeamarkering” or “paramarking”.

  29. Rick Howell October 24th, 2015 1:28 pm

    @BB: Yes, living here in Stowe, Vermont — we are blessed with all forms of great skiing. Many years ago, I was 5th in the U.S. in DH (29 FIS Points). More recently, I was on the 1st American team to win the Canadian Ski Marathon (100-miles: Ottawa to Montréal); and the backcountry skiing here is fantastic — such as, among others, the Bolton to Trapp trail. We locals backcountry ski as much as possible. I utilize one of Reinhod Zoor’s prototype bindings for my backcountry skiing. Also during college, I owned a ski-binding service shop that catered to elite racers; performed my engineering thesis on the interaction between bindings and ski performance at MIT’s Charles Stark Draper Labs; co-authored IAS 150 (the precursor to the DIN-System and to ISO 9462), co-authored ISO 9465; and worked in senior management at a major German binding company for 8-years.

    More significantly, there is no such thing as a “safe” binding. You will never see me use that term. Some people think that ‘release’ somehow = ‘safety’. That’s another myth that must be tamped-down. Retention (anti-pre-release) is far more important in a binding than release because pre-release can cause a far worse injury than no-release. However, a proper binding should meet minimum international (ISO) standards — including for release. What most skiers do not realize is that one need not sacrifice release for retention, or retention for release. We did have to make that trade-off in bindings before the early 1970’s: but since that time good engineers have learned how to provide both release AND retention (anti-pre-release) while meeting minimum standards, without elevated settings.

    If one wants 100% retention (because they they don’t know how to design or buy a binding that provides both release AND retention) — that’s fine. We live in a free society. My issue as a life long ski-binding engineer (starting in high school with a #1-seller) is that if a manufacturer wants to provide a non-release binding — simply say-so. They should not try to pass-on in-box instructions to ski-shops and to skiers that, often in broken-English, imply that some crude form of ‘release might be possible but not under all conditions’. How fraudulent to write such things. In-box instructions on all bindings that do not meet ISO 9462 should simply say something like: “This binding does not provide ordinary release; it favors other design requirements such as light weight, durability and (with some new designs, edge-control).”

    The term, “safety” is a misnomer.
    .

  30. Matt Kinney October 24th, 2015 1:33 pm

    Rarely read AT tech articles but this one was good timing and well written for someone looking for a simple recommendation. With tele gear waning (or waned) the inevitable is too near so I best pay attention. I had that Marker in my hand last week admiring the craftsmanship and difference to other AT bindings. It’s a beautiful binding. (at AMH Anchorage who has an amazing number of binding and boots for this season). Probably next season for that life changing event.

    Besides, at first glance of the photo above, it looked like a telemark binding with cables routed under foot to the heel piece, thus some bias (-:

  31. BB October 24th, 2015 1:35 pm

    As a follow-up to my last comment, I am seriously not trying to be “snarky” with Rick Howell. I honestly appreciate his input on this site. I am a data sort of person and like to make my choices based on sound information. I think everyone who visits this site understands that backcountry skiing has risks. What I like about this site is the thoughtful discussion and input from numerous folks with way more knowledge than me. There are discussion that discuss the pros and cons of using airbags, different types of beacon, cell phones vs. sat phones vs. PLB, as well as many other topic to help us make better decisions prior to and during backcountry trips. A broken leg or blown ACL in the backcountry could be a life threatening situation. Again, I was not trying to be obnoxious with Rick Howell, but trying to see how someone with an incredible amount of knowledge and information weights the various pros and cons associated with skiing in the backcountry. I am just trying to stack the deck in my favor so that I can spend as many years skiing in the backcountry as I can. Thanks for the Reinhod Zoor’s prototype reference. Interesting binding.

  32. Rick Howell October 24th, 2015 2:54 pm

    @BB: This is no problem. I sincerely appreciate your good questions and comments and those of the others, too.

    I do have much to share in the category of bindings from a lifetime of work in this field.

    Producing proper bindings is an exciting design challenge that first comes from a proper understanding of the necessary functional requirements. If we all understood the proper functional requirements and if proper standard-test results were published that bias the proper functional requirements — then Charles Darwin would have his way in the marketplace … and all of us would be happily skiing our bottoms off with full confidence. (smile)
    .

  33. See October 24th, 2015 7:49 pm

    Hi Rick,

    Perhaps a boot can release “laterally” from a tech binding at the toe in the scenario described here?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6cETQwh6V8

    As Lou says, there would have to be some “rolling” and other sorts of movement involved, but I think a tech toe prerelease can occur in this way (I’ve probably linked this video half a dozen times).

    The way tech toe piece rotation might have something to do with “ordinary alpine binding function” would be if it provides a few degrees of lateral heel displacement while allowing the toe pins to remain securely seated in the boot toe sockets, so rolling or other motions would be less likely to cause a toe prerelease.

    I look forward to studying the rest of this thread when I get a chance.

    Regards and thanks to you all.

  34. Rick Howell October 24th, 2015 8:36 pm

    @See: Thank you for sharing your video, again.

    This video shows a classic example of why — when testing — it’s important to fix the boot via a leg (an instrumented metallic leg) to a rigid test frame …… then apply the lateral force to the ski. This is the scenario while skiing. In this case, the ski is not in a position to move laterally co-planar to the snow surface AND roll. One way to visualize this scenario (sort of) is to imagine the inverse of what’s being shown in the video — inverse in terms of having the boot fixed and the ski being pushed by a snow-snake, laterally. It would be nearly impossible for the toe of the boot to move through the pin of the binding.

    Watch it here in the slow-motion video in Jason Borrow’s article — where the boot is held fixed and the ski is pulled by a sailing mainsheet. ( BTW, the saling line provides a tensile force that is equal in magnitude, equal in direction (equal as a vector) — but on the opposite side of the ski from a snow-snake that pushes the ski laterally during a fall:

    this article

    Respectfully,
    Rick Howell
    President,
    Howell Ski Bindings
    Stowe, Vermont USA
    .

  35. See October 24th, 2015 9:06 pm

    Testing is neat, but skiing is messy?

  36. cam October 24th, 2015 9:40 pm

    @ rick. Can you share with the readers the key differences between 13992 and 9462. thx!

  37. Rick Howell October 25th, 2015 7:02 am

    @See: Yes, you are correct that it’s “messy” in the video where the boot is held-fixed and the ski is loaded — one of many simulated skiing situations — but it’s ‘messy’ in the video only AFTER release. After release, it’s irrelevant.

    Please carefully view in the super-slow-motion-take within Jason Borro’s article what’s happening BEFORE and AT THE MOMENT OF release. Here you can see that a gigantic force is applied to the ski — the whole test device is deflecting! Match the related “applied force” and resultant “tibia torque” data in the graphs in Jason’s article (at the point where the force is applied to the ski in that video-simulation, which is a point that’s 30cm forward of the projected axis of the tibia: in this test scenario, tibia torque can rise to 40 daNm with pin bindings — that’s approximately 40 DIN ! ) …….. so, the leg is fractured (starting at 11.3 daNm for an average U.S. male) …… but, then when binding-release is finally achieved (look closely in the video) — it’s the heel, NOT the toe, that releases laterally ! That’s because the toe cannot release laterally through the pins (a toe that rotates about its own axis will not change anything — the pins still block lateral release …. except, with the Diamir Vipec …. and I’m not being paid by Diamir to say that. It’s a fact.) That’s what a proper test shows. A ‘proper’ test that deploys a 5-degree-of-freedom simulation (such as the one in Jason Borrow’s article) allows the ski-binding-boot-leg system to hunt to the lowest level of entropy (the weakest link in the chain). The weakest ‘natural’ link in the chain with that pin binding in that loading-simulation is the heel, NOT the toe ……. and only well-after the leg is fractured (see the accompanying data in Jason Borro’s article). Further, when a lateral force is applied incrementally within a series of tests to a full range of positions along the length of the ski, the full ‘behavior’ (the resultant load on the leg) of a given binding is revealed (see the full set of 2D envelopes in Jason Borro’s article). Every binding design has a unique signature that is revealed in these graphs. ALL pin bindings (except Diamir Vipec) cause leg fracture when lateral loads are applied at the positions shown in the graphs in Jason Borro’s article (independently of settings). That’s what ‘proper’ tests show.

    (( The “5-degree-of-freedom” simulation in the tests within Jason Borro’s article mean: the incremental attachment-points of the sailing mainsheet are via a series of stand-alone wire-loops that flow through a series of large holes that are located along the centerline of the ski at 10cm increments. The wire loops, when pulled laterally by the sailing mainsheet, allow the ski to ‘float’ (freely) in the following 3D spatial directions: pitch, yaw, roll, vertical shear, and longitudinal shear: the only 3D spatial direction in which the ski is not free to float is in the lateral shear direction (the applied loading condition). That test-approach simulates the lateral component of the compressive force that’s supplied by the snow during a fall that involves any amount of lateral loading. In this way, any given BINDING controls the kinematics (‘kinematics’ in this context = the path of the load that flows between the snow/ski interface and the leg) — the test method itself does not control the kinematics: the binding controls the kinematics. In this way, we are testing the binding, not the test-method. Pushing the boot at the toe of the boot while the ski is clamped to a bench is a test-method that voids the natural kinematics of the binding, on-snow. ))

    ((( The other issue that should be addressed: How does a lateral load become applied at these various positions along the length of the ski? This is an important question in the evaluation of any given binding design — because the functional attributes of any given binding design (that relate to how the ski releases from the boot due to the given design) significantly effects the resultant load on the leg.

    Before shaped skis, when a skier fell with any lateral loading present, the lateral component of the load would arise at the tip OR the tail — one end of the ski would slide-out and the other end would ‘bite’. That loading condition is simulated in the test method that I describe above (and which is utilized in Jason Borro’s article) by pulling the sailing mainsheet at the tip or the tail of the ski. During a laterally loaded fall with shaped skis, one end of the ski does not slide-out: BOTH ends bite. When this occurs, the 2 force vectors at the tip and the tail become ‘naturally’ resolved into a single force-vector located at a ‘centroid’. The centroid can become positioned anywhere BETWEEN the tip and the tail, depending upon the amount of forward or rearward loading that is combined into the fall event. Therefore, a realistic release-test-simulation of any given binding’s DESIGN (with different types of binding-kinematics) must therefore involve a SERIES of tests that simulate a full range of lateral load positions along the full length of the ski. )))

    .

  38. Rick Howell October 25th, 2015 7:14 am

    @cam: ISO 9462 Method-B simulates applied loading to the ski in 5-degrees of freedom — then measures the resultant loading on the leg, as described in my post, above, to See.

    ISO 13992 involves applied-loading that’s controlled by the test device: it’s a binding-myopic test method, not a leg-related test method. This method is a good test at the end of a manufacturing assembly line to measure a binding’s release tolerances. This method does not address the quality of a given binding’s unique function (based upon a given binding’s unique design in terms of how it controls the kinematic path of release between the ski and the boot) relative to human biomechanics (relative to the leg).

  39. Lou Dawson 2 October 25th, 2015 7:30 am

    Ok, a couple of things here that I feel everyone needs to keep in mind, including myself.

    First, I spiral fractured my a leg once on the Ramer binding, which was the precursor to the modern tech pin binding. It had the same issue in that it was blocked at the toe as Rick describes, with the additional problem of extreme friction when an upward boot movement at the heel was combined with twisting. While we do NOT have thousands of people breaking their legs on tech bindings, what Rick is describing is very real and people experience the consequences in real life. What’s interesting here is that it’s quite possible that while a classic tech binding lacks leg protection in this one mode, it possibly provides better protection for your knees — though I also know people who have blown out their knees on tech bindings.

    Bear in mind that ANY anecdotal stories about injuries on tech bindings have three huge inherent problems. 1.)Many if not most people in the world ski downhill on locked tech bindings that have virtually no lateral release. 2.)Many if not most skiers on tech bindings set them to higher release values than “chart” settings, sometimes much higher. 3.)Steel-on-steel interface at boot toe is often not tested and sometimes has blocked lateral release at angles that by design are supposed to provide smooth release.

    We have a discussion of ISO here:

    https://www.wildsnow.com/14843/din-iso-13992-binding-release-safety-testing-summary/

    I’d appreciate it if engineers such as Cam and Rick, as well as others wishing to help sort out the ISO standards, would do their discussion there instead of on this thread.

    In the post above, we were attempting to do a more informal “lay” comparo of the Radical 2.0 and Kingpin, based on consumer demand. Many other bindings could be included in this, such as Vipec and ION, but in this case we stuck with Dynafit and Marker, again due to consumer demand experienced by Randy at his shop. We have many other blog posts planned that cover other bindings.

    Lou

  40. See October 25th, 2015 9:06 am

    Wow, Rick, thanks very much for such a helpful explanation.

    My comment that toe piece rotation may play some role in reducing prerelease is not, I believe, inconsistent with most of your very valid points. I was just suggesting that some rotation before the wings start to spread might improve elasticity and retention for load situations other than the one in which a tech binding fails. In other words, that rotation might be useful in cases where the load “centroid” is significantly forward or aft of toe pins.

    I did not mean to suggest that Lou’s video demonstrates a viable safety release mechanism. I think it demonstrates a lack of retention problem.

  41. Johan October 25th, 2015 9:32 am

    Lou, I am a newb here, so pls forgive the following question. Why do “most” people ski with locked toes on tech bindings? I get it that they should be locked in situations like the uphill, no-fall terrain, etc. But I’ve been using them for over a decade in all manner of conditions but almost invariably ski downhill with them in the unlocked position with nary a drama.
    Also, sorry to hear about your spiral fracture but maybe the silver lining was that your “b” leg was given a much deserved chance to shine. Okay, that was bad, couldn’t resist the typo setup though ;-).

  42. Rick Howell October 25th, 2015 9:42 am

    Ok, Lou: I promise to stay on-thread. (smile)

    In regard to your point about, ‘consumer’ / ‘retailer demand’: it is irresponsible for anyone to attempt to review / evaluate a binding’s release-function — especially in order to make bona fide comparisons between different types of bindings — in the absence of proper test methods (see untutored consumer demand for Takata air bags, OtisMed arthopedic jigs, GM ignition switches).

    A binding’s release function is only as good as its test results — test results are only as good as the selected test-method.

    As you move forward with future ‘reports’ on bindings — it’s important to edit conjecture about release characteristics in the absence of bona fide testing. Conjecture about ski binding release characteristics is harmful to our beautiful sport. The conjecture in this regard should go into a new thread called:
    “Conjecture about bindings based on zero release measurements.”

    In regard to you point about discussions on specific types of injuries — they are ALL covered by default-logic in a full 3D release envelope; discussion about the frequency (occurrence, prevalence, incidence) of injuries flows from epidemiological research, not biomechanical testing. The intersection of epidemiology and biomechanics is where new product development resides in terms of release-function.

    Lastly in this thread by Rick Howell: we know FROM HISTORY (Alsop, Americana) that bindings with envelope-shapes as seen with most pin bindings — that there will be a direct correlation between (a) the frequency of leg fractures involving pin bindings and (b) proper biomechanical test results — as soon as the the penetration of pin bindings becomes large enough to provide proper statistical-power to compare (c) the incidence of pin-binding leg fractures and (d) ‘control populations’ within epidemiological studies. Meanwhile, proper biomechanical tests that I describe in this ‘review’ are a real-time (now) beacon to show us what WILL BE found in future epidemiological studies. THAT’s the power of proper biomechanical testing in NEW product reviews: it gives us real-time data before the inevitable epidemiological data comes out years from now (lab tests for Takata air bags and GM ignition switches could have shown us years ago what we now know — years later — from epidemiology). Our use of proper biomechanical tests in NEW product reviews will provide us with binding release information, now, real-time.

    End of discussion from Rick Howell. (smile)
    .

  43. Lou Dawson 2 October 25th, 2015 11:59 am

    Johan, much of the skiing with locked toes is done, in my opinion, due to skiers wanting 100% reliability regarding accidental release. Much is probably due to fantasy or downright laziness in not using properly adjusted bindings. As you experience the bindings can often be skied unlocked and do fine. Don’t sweat it, just keep doing what you’re doing.

    Rick, I’ll continue offering opinions about release and such, only we’ll be more careful of how we word such. Thanks for directing my attention to that.

    Lou

  44. Ted D October 25th, 2015 8:15 pm

    I appreciate all of Rick’s inputs. As a casualty of binding failure,
    I alway learn something when he adds to the conversation.
    Can anyone, Rick or someone else provide any info on the Reinhold
    Zoor binding. I did some searching but only came up with 7tm and Atk standard
    Tech binding patents. Drawing or photos woukd be great.

  45. Wookie October 26th, 2015 3:09 am

    Here’s what I think: (just one passionate consumer, with my own experiences. Yours may vary.)

    – the comments show a real danger IMO regarding TÜV and all kinds of certifications. Somebody is getting sued for offering, what in my experience, is a great product – vastly improved over prior options. Should they say their bindings are “certified”? I don’t know….but I do know that they are a great product. Certifications often have the effect of stifling innovation – and I have a feeling that this is ALREADY what’s happening. That’s too bad. (I mean really: the kingpin is really just a frankenbinding. I get why other people like it – I do – but its too heavy for me and the step in is just as bad as a regular pin binding. If this is the pinnacle of German engineering….ummm…well. No offense fellas. What I want are weightless magnetic connections actuated by my mojo.)

    – two: I never got why people ski with their toes locked out. The people who taught me didn’t – so I didn’t, and I’ve never felt the need. Yes – I have early released a few times. Probably less than 10 times in 25 plus years of skiing on these things. I think that’s OK.

    – three: If you want to make sure you NEVER come out of your binding – then I suggest screwing a doorhinge to the front of your boot and putting a bolt with a removable nut through your heel overhang. Don’t forget your torque-wrench! In all seriousness – the obsession with high DIN (yeah, yeah, NOT DIN) values is absurd. I’m not small – but I can easily ski with my bindings set at 5….even Alpine….and I don’t ski like a grandmother by any means. If you crank everything up to the max – its not a surprise that falls result in injury more commonly than should be the case.

    Sorry about the rant. I’m just trying to say that as a ski-tourer, I’m not all that happy with the newest offerings in the binding world. I’m riding gear that really hasn’t changed in about 20 years, while boots, skis, and everything else has improved dramatically. The products now being pushed as the best and newest are made for alpine skiers, (I have separate alpine gear, collecting dust) who misuse the gear (locking and cranking) to do stuntwork. (much respect though)

    I guess I’m writing this mostly to encourage anyone reading that I don’t care about TÜV and that I do think there is a market for a truly innovative binding that can improve my experience. Perhaps its a small market – but I’d pay for it.

  46. Toby October 26th, 2015 4:47 am

    Again, thanks for the article and interesting discussions here.

    Hagan Z frame bindings are supposedly design by Reinhold Zoor. And not to forgetting Silvretta Easy go’s from the 90s.

    And what comes to Reinhold and 7tm; isn’t it amazing that telemarking binding gained DIN release TÜV stamps already 15 years ago. 7tm is still extremely smoothly releasing (telemark) binding, which will even release forward under certain conditions.

    I’m also curios to know more about his latest innovations

  47. Matteo October 26th, 2015 6:55 am

    “The fierce competition for the 2015-16 season is definitely Marker Kingpin vs Dynafit Radical FT 2.0.”

    Diamir Vipec, ATK Rider 12/14, G3 Ion, TRAB Tr2 don’t exist on USA market?

    “With this bit of rotation the tech toe is more dynamic to match a sport that is, well, dynamic.”

    I see a lot of skiers tightening the boots so hard that bloods stop to flow into the foots to do not have any “lack” between the sole and the ski and you think that “rotating” bindings are better?

    Are you serious?

  48. Lou Dawson 2 October 26th, 2015 7:05 am

    Toby, with all due respect to fans of 7TM binding, I’m not sure “amazing” is the operative word for the supposed 7TM TUV.

    TUV is a certification organization, they certify to DIN/ISO standards such as 13992 (the standard used for Dynafit Radical 2.0, for example).

    There is no “DIN release TUV stamp.” Nada. Doesn’t exist.

    You can also pay TUV to test anything, to any standard, even your own private in-house standard. Key is WHAT STANDARD?

    Again, there is no “DIN release TUV stamp.”

    If I wanted to pay for it, I could write up a standard for a wooden stick and get TUV to test it, and if the wooden stick conformed to my standard, I could “stamp” my wooden stick with a logo showing it was tested by TUV. Perhaps that’s what was done here? Perhaps Garmont or whomever paid TUV to do some basic tests according to a set of specifications, then the marketing people got ahold of it and introduced the word DIN?

    Furthermore, DIN/ISO standards undergo constant change and, hopefully, improvement. That’s why the proper name for an ISO standard includes a date. For example, 9462:2014 is the alpine binding standard. If the 7TM was certified to a ski binding standard 15 years ago, that probably has little basis of comparison to current standards. And the earlier standards were less rigorous. That’s why the classic Dynafit TLT tech binding actually had a TUV “stamp” for a little while many years ago, and was technically the “first” tech binding to receive a TUV certification — though again, not to current standards.

    Key here is I’d like to see the actual certificate for certification of 7TM, specific to what standard?

    TUV has a tool on their website that searches for certificates. I find zip there regarding bindings and keywords “garmont” or “7tm,” or even the word “telemark.”

    https://www.tuev-sued.de/industry_and_consumer_products/certificates

    If someone could direct me to the actual 7tm certification documentation, to a DIN/ISO binding standard such as 13992, I’d appreciate it. Otherwise, it appears this 7TM TUV stuff is garbage perpetrated by some kind of marketing spreech, perhaps instigated by some kind of minimal testing at TUV, perhaps simply to test torque calibration of the 7TM lateral release.

    I’d love to be wrong about this and find out that a telemark binding was certified to TUV standard 13992 or another actual ski binding ISO/DIN standard. So telemark acolytes out there, now is your chance. You can school the Lou.

  49. Lou Dawson 2 October 26th, 2015 7:09 am

    Matteo, that’s what Randy is experiencing with his customers and is his opinion of the general sales climate. I tend to agree, but more from a marketing perspective. In other words, Kingpin and Radical 2 have in my opinion gotten the most buzz, and they’re similar enough in their target skier to be appropriate for a head-to-head comparo.

    Of course other bindings exist. We cover those here as well and we’ll probably do more comparos. ION in particular is wonderful and we’ve alluded to that in a number of previous blog posts.

    Sheesh, one blog post comparing two bindings and the earth shakes!!!

    Lou

  50. Matteo October 26th, 2015 7:26 am

    You have compared two bindings very far from a technical point of view.

    Kingpin is comparable with Trab TR2 and Beast, for the type of retention that they have at the heel. They don’t use the rear tech insert, but they use a “clamp”.

    Best comparison for Radical 2.0 is with ATK rider 12/14, G3 Ion and Diamir Vipec.

    But in all the discussion, you miss the right question you have to done yourself.
    Since all the bindings have been designed to release before any injury, what are the factors that can make this release doesn’t work?

    Furthermore, if you want to discuss which is the best release mechanism (heel? toe? mixed heel and toe? both?) you have to go inside the bindings and analyze the mechanism with engineering methods.
    But all article use the “people say that…” as statement…

  51. Lou Dawson 2 October 26th, 2015 7:35 am

    Wookie, I hear you, that’s why ATK and G3 are doing well. They stuck with a more trad tech binding approach, and hoisted the middle finger to all this TUV ranting. Proof will be in what we see out there on the snow. Like I always say, when I travel the world and observe what bindings the vast majority of ski tourers are on, clear winner is classic designed tech bindings and nearly everyone seems very happy with them.

    Clearly, much of this “freeride touring” effort by companies such as Marker is an attempt to tap into the vast pool of alpine skiers, potential customers for touring bindings that are “alpine like.” And the first step to create an “alpine like” binding is to get some sort of DIN/ISO certification so the binding can be indemnified and marketed.

    Clearly, considering that so many people are out there successfully touring on bindings that are NOT certified, it is axiomatic that TUV certification to standard 13992 is to some extent B.S. for ski touring bindings.

    Or coming from the opposite view, as Rick seems to imply, or say, the touring binding standard needs to be more rigorous before it has adequate real-world meaning, for example needing to address the “blocking” of release that occurs with all classic design tech binding toe units.

    In my opinion, the main flaw of ISO 13992 is it needs much more rigorous standards and test methods for accidental release and elasticity. As it stands now, that standard 13992 can allow bindings with just a few millimeters of vertical heel elasticity, is in my opinion a big concern.

    Bear in mind that it’s folks in the industry who create these standards in the first place. It’s not some boffin in a lab coat trying to push improvement and innovation. While guys like Rick appear to push for more rigorous standards (thanks Rick), once the committee process is done the standards improve a bit but mostly just reflect what’s already common. In the case of 13992, it simply reflected the state of touring frame bindings, and was adapted for tech bindings.

    Thus, the standards INDEED can limit innovation, and again, can be B.S. But they’re a reality and have both a good and bad side, like many things in life.

    Lou

  52. Lou Dawson 2 October 26th, 2015 7:41 am

    Matteo, I totally agree that in terms of technical comparison, huge difference is in vertical heel elasticity of Marker. While I like that, I don’t think it’s a huge “deal breaker” for the pure ski tourer, but does make the Marker binding more “alpine like” and perhaps better for use as a binding on the resort. Randy does an adequate job of alluding to that in his article, but we could have put in a sentence or two about the difference in heel vertical travel/elasticity. So I’m doing that here (grin). Thanks for your input.

    (And again, I want to emphasize that we accepted this comparo from Randy because it compares two bindings that are being “perceived” and marketed in the same category. Clearly, they are technically quite different. That’s the whole reason they are being compared! Randy’s writing style is more of the softer less techie, perhaps you guys are craving our harder style, and you want me to build a full imitation TUV testing facility in my new workshop? Don’t worry, we always have more of that headed your way, but it’s nice to balance it out.)

    Lou

  53. Matteo October 26th, 2015 7:59 am

    The main difference between rear pins into the “dynafit” insert and the “clamping” of the heel of the boots is not the vertical elasticity.

    The rear pins are so close each other that is quite impossible to transmit torsion from the boot to the ski by the heel tower. The lever arm is too short compared to the front wings clearance.

    So when you edge your skis with “traditional” tech bindings, all the torsion imposed by the unbalanced pressure on the sole and/or by lateral pressure at the tibia has to “travel” to the toe. This lead to a different way to ski and to “feel” the ski relative to alpine bindings.

    There are also some technical issue due to this type of load:
    – the torsion acting on the boot is higher than in alpine bindings
    – the tension load on the front screw is high due to the torsion and you have to spread the plate (as for the ATK rider)

    But otherwise, why are you so interested on bindings elasticity?
    During normal use the deflection of the bindings must be close to zero.
    The boot shall be released when the external loads exceed the “safety” value set by the user.
    Any oscillation and movement at lower loads are undesirable and not necessary.

  54. Toby October 26th, 2015 10:27 am

    Lou, sorry about this OT. You are right: 7tm was “Tested and approved according to DIN/ISO 9462 by TUV Product Service Munich, Germany
    The releasable 7tm binding do DIN releases only about the vertical axis of the leg (in the twist direction)”
    http://www.telemarking.de/index-start.html

    That binding just came to my mind while someone was mentioning Mr. Zoors name twice on the posts above.

  55. Lou Dawson 2 October 26th, 2015 10:32 am

    Ok Toby, thanks. Yes, you can pay TUV to test anything, using any criteria. But no they did not issue a certificate or certification to a telemark binding for any DIN/ISO standard. They probably just used the torque values in the 9462 specs as something to test to, then the marketing people called it “DIN.” Which is downright dishonest without a few sentences of clarification, and even then the term “DIN” probably should not have been used whatsoever. Lou

  56. Ryan October 26th, 2015 11:13 am

    Lou I am similar size to you, but ski fairly aggressively. I usually run my bindings at 9. Every time I buy new bindings, alpine or backcountry I struggle with the decision of what to get din wise as I technically could get the lower range bindings that are usually lighter.
    But in the end I feel like running a binding at 80-90% of the max spring is not ideal. I have always believed that in order to achieve best and most reliable operation you want the spring to be set closer to the middle or at least 30%+ from either extreme. Do you ever find that to be a concern to run your binding at 8 when they max out only at 10?

  57. Lou Dawson 2 October 26th, 2015 11:58 am

    Hello Ryan, the only reason to worry about running a binding setting just below the max, or at max, is if there’s a chance of a spring “bottoming out.” Otherwise I don’t understand where this mythology comes from — I think it’s some kind of legend from the 1950s or 1960s.

    Any name-brand binding I know of can be set to the max release value and the springs still have flex left that accommodates as much movement the binding and boot can exert.

    Caveat: As with any “DIN” setting, the numbers on the binding and what you actually end up with in reality may not correlate. This actually might be the reason one would want a higher RV bindings, simply so there was more room for changing adjustment at the upper end of the scale. For example, if you found the “8” was actually a “6”, it would be nice to be able to dial up the “8” a few steps without going to the end of the scale. Or in your case specifically, there is a chance that if you had a “10” binding you ran at “9.5” you could actually be at 8.5 and not be able to dial it up to the “10.5” setting you really needed. But you’d only know to do this if you had the binding checked on a machine, or came out in a very obvious pre-release that was easy to evaluate as to what binding mode allowed the pre release.

    Seriously, however, almost no ski tourer ever has their bindings checked for their actual release value. It’s indeed a weird situation. Surprising that not more people get hurt… I don’t check mine on a machine… probably should now and then.

    In my view, the main reason people buy RV 12 bindings and ski them at 8, instead of buying RV 10 bindings and skiing them at 8, is marketing and the consumer impression that because one binding has a higher number it is better, perhaps stronger. Could be, but often it’s just the stiffness of the spring or even a shim on the spring! For example, the Radical 1.0 achieved at least some of its higher lateral RV by adding a washer behind the lateral release spring, which actually REDUCED the amount of room for the spring travel! Even so, it had plenty of room, but that alone totally belies the theory/reasoning behind running a higher RV binding.

    Lou

  58. Powderpuffer October 26th, 2015 12:41 pm

    Rick I fully believe that someone speaking from such a voice of supreme authority based on a very small amount of empirical data is far more dangerous than someone casually mentioning the manufacturer’s intended purpose for a feature. Until you have tested hundreds of tech bindings with hundreds of different tech boots, please refrain from speaking form the voice of binding god. We are not here just to argue ceramics.

  59. See October 26th, 2015 6:16 pm

    I’m curious if, as a “shop owner… (who) spend(s) a chunk of the winter going to trade shows,” Randy Young has any thoughts on how the new crop of tech bindings is being represented to consumers. I expect his customers are mostly knowledgeable backcountry skiers, and that his shop is doing right by them. But I think that there is some serious overselling going on out there in the “mass market.”

    Once a niche product, tech type bindings are now being touted as comparable to alpine bindings. I wonder if experiences like Apingaut describes above will lead to some consumer backlash if and when the skiing performance of these super tech bindings falls short of full on alpine bindings.

  60. See October 26th, 2015 6:47 pm

    Also interested in thoughts/observations from the rest of y’all, of course.

  61. Ryan October 26th, 2015 7:27 pm

    Lou thanks for your response. I can’t believe that is a myth. If so, it is an easy one to believe because many of my mechanical toys seem to perform poorer or break quicker when constantly used a notch below the max. But it sounds like I have let myself be tricked into firmly believing something with no science behind it…certainly not the first time.

    In terms of your caveat, I have a cyclic process where as my skis age they move through a use cycle often from alpine to backcountry. During that process there is always a remount. Last time I had a pair remounted the shop had to ratchet them down a couple extra notches in order to achieve what was a 9. I can’t remember exactly what the guy said but the shop employee gave me a dissertation on how this is very common with certain bindings and suggested I recheck all my bindings if they have not been rechecked in 2 seasons.

    This is kind of a scary problem. I doubt it affects many of the gear heads who visit a site like this and constantly cycle through gear. But imagine the weekend warrior who buys a set up and skis it 10 days a year for 5 years before replacing. Despite being skied less in 5 years than many serious skiers do in a single season, that spring is undoubtedly not the same. It is an interesting problem that you don’t hear much of and dare I say appears ripe for a lawsuit.

  62. Lou Dawson 2 October 26th, 2015 7:29 pm

    Hi Ryan, the springs are probably becoming work hardened. Happens to the best of us. Lou

  63. Randy October 26th, 2015 8:30 pm

    SEE, comparing touring bindings to alpine bindings is nothing new nor is the EFFORT to make touring bindings that offer performance comparable to alpine bindings. I think that effort was a driving force behind the development of both of these bindings and I think they’ve pushed it a step closer than we were before.

  64. See October 26th, 2015 8:56 pm

    Agreed, and I’m excited about the innovations. I’m just questioning some of the marketing.

  65. Lou Dawson 2 October 26th, 2015 9:02 pm

    It wouldn’t be marketing unless some of it was questionable!

  66. Randy October 26th, 2015 9:57 pm

    There were a number of other bindings brought up that would make for great comparisons and some would make for a more even match-up or a better head to head. I went with the Radical 2.0 vs. Kingpin because by a clear majority Kingpin vs. Radical 2.0 is the comparison I’m asked to make most often.

  67. See October 26th, 2015 10:48 pm

    How about a Look Pivot/Marker Tour vs. KingPin/Radical head to head?

  68. Lorelei October 27th, 2015 12:10 pm

    Would love some AT gear advice. My husband and I are considering getting AT gear. We’re both getting older and are not fearless anymore. Mostly we like to be outside and the turns are not quite as important as the ability to travel distances and explore the beauty. Coming from a tele background I expect that we will be thrilled with the control of any AT gear. Gear that more demanding/aggressive skiers would like would be overkill for us. In our case weight is a key issue. We are looking at the Cho Oyu and the TLT Speed Radical. The boot is either an Alien (not 2.0 or 1.0) or a TLT6 Mtn. So, looking for light weight and fun, what do you think of these choices? What do you think of the boot options? We’ve heard that your feet can get wet and/or cold in the Alien. Anyway around that? The Alien is lighter and supposedly will fit my low volume foot more easily, but wet feet would be a deal breaker.

    Thank you! Lorelei

  69. Lou Dawson 2 October 27th, 2015 12:22 pm

    Hi Lorelei, I’d say your binding-ski combo will be fine, indeed light and high performance.Alien is a nice boot, but for your first AT boot, I’d stick with something a little more conventional. If you’re concerned about lower volume just head towards a Dynafit TLT 6. Lou

  70. Lisa Dawson October 27th, 2015 12:47 pm

    Hi Lorelei,
    I use the TLT6 and like it. If you have access to a ski shop with a good bootfitter, I suggest talking with them . I’ve gone to a number of bootfitting workshops and have learned that various boots fit differently. Quite a few are light weight. I too love traveling distances on my skis. Having a comfortable boot is key.

  71. Randy October 27th, 2015 1:24 pm

    I’d recommend looking at the Atomic Backland boots as well. Lands right in between the TLT 6 and Alien. Lighter than the TLT6 and will drive those skis better than the Alien (plus won’t have any issues with wet feet).

  72. =LD= October 27th, 2015 9:49 pm

    Rick:
    I’d be curious what “production” pin-binding you would use in the backcountry this year. I’ve always been happy with my pin bindings and have never pre-released but as I get older (52), preservation of bone and tendon are becoming the overriding concern in my new binding choice.=LD=

  73. Pieter October 28th, 2015 8:32 am

    Hi Lou & all the other contributors,

    Very interesting and informative. I’ve never put THAT much thought in my bindings. Pretty much click & go.

    I’ve been skiing my FT’s inbounds/hardpack (family) and outbounds (touring with friends) and I never had any pre-releases. (Despite some days inbounds rattling on hardpack/ice.) So pretty happy there.

    Have watched the little clip of you pressing/pulling a boot out of a dynafit… do the powertowers prevent these kind of movements/pre releases? Wasn’t sure if the binding you used had them…

  74. Lou Dawson 2 October 28th, 2015 9:59 am

    Hello Pieter, the Power Towers can help, but they have to be quite close to the boot toe plastic for the max effect. I tested quite a few boots with them and most were not close enough to make a big difference, especially when boots had some wear and tear. But I believe they do make a difference.The towers also help with getting into the binding. Lou

  75. Ryschult1 October 28th, 2015 9:54 pm

    Hey Lou-
    Curious question. I just had a pair of Marker Kingpins mounted to my V-werks Karana’s. Can’t wait for it to snow! My only boots are the Dynafit Titan Ultralights so I plan on skiing these with my kingpins. Question I have is have you seen any capatability issues with the kingpin heel with these boots using the AT sole blocks? Marker rep was trying to tell me I need the heel adapter that you need with some of the Dynafit TLT boots. They lock in fine and passed all the shop tests when I had them professionally mounted. Thanks for the knowledge and love the site.

  76. Lou Dawson 2 October 29th, 2015 6:13 am

    Hey Ry, if they work, they work… But since I don’t have your boots here to evaluate, I recommend at at least compare the heel shape to a DIN boot sole and if it’s much different I’d use the adapter anyway.

    Thanks for visiting!

    Lou

  77. Gary October 29th, 2015 4:26 pm

    Rick, Forgive my ignorance but why is prerelease more dangerous that no release. I have been skiing Dynafit since mid 1990’s mostly backcountry but resort as well. I have had very few prerelease but it does happen. Sometimes for no apparent reason.

  78. Lou Dawson 2 October 29th, 2015 4:28 pm

    Gary, because a broken neck is more dangerous than a broken leg. Lou

  79. Gary October 30th, 2015 1:09 pm

    Thanks Lou, I get the point. You do have a way with words.

  80. Walt October 31st, 2015 9:07 pm

    Sounds like Dynafit is finally starting to get it. I need to replace my terrible Dynafit vertical FT10s that I have to ski locked. Is the hole pattern on the new 2.0s different? If not, could I remount in the same place?

  81. Walt October 31st, 2015 9:28 pm

    Hey Rey,
    Boots with At sole blocks like the Titan, Factor, etc. will work fine in the kingpin as will many AT boots with standard soles too. It’s only boots with the shortened heel like the TLT6 that need the adapter.

  82. Randy November 2nd, 2015 12:02 pm

    Walt,

    The hole pattern on the 2.0’s is different than any of the Verts or Radicals. Can’t say for sure w/o looking at your skis, but likely you will be able to remount at boot center or very close to it.

  83. GB November 8th, 2015 1:16 pm

    What about the massive ramp angle of the Radical 2.0 vs the Kingpin? As far as I know B&D doesn’t make a shim yet for the new 2.0. As someone who switches frequently between alpine bindings and touring bindings, this makes a big difference to me.

  84. Lou Dawson 2 November 8th, 2015 1:21 pm

    Hi GB, yeah, I have not heard of Bill making a shim. Easily done DIY if necessary, but you make a good point. We should have put more about ramp in the comparo.

    More, it looks like I forgot to put Kingpin in the ramp angle comparison chart! My bad. I’ll do it ASAP.

    https://www.wildsnow.com/10733/get-up-rise-up-stand-up-for-your-ramp/

    Lou

  85. apingaut November 11th, 2015 6:32 am

    I have played around with ramp on some of the 2014 tech bindings, the ramp really helps prevent real world pre-release. With a CM or two under your heels you cannot pressure the heel very much, setting up the “soft on the heel” tech binding skiing technique.

    This is why I am suspicious that either 2.0 version actually improves the pre-release characteristics any appreciable amount when they have so much ramp angle.

    Also everyone’s millage may vary. This is way more noticeable on hard snow and who really wants to ski that. However this I think needs to be talked about much more openly and to-date has been pretty well an avoided topic

  86. Duane November 23rd, 2015 10:01 am

    Wow, helluva discussion about tech bindings/safety, etc. I”m an engineer, so I love all the tech talk, but it got a bit mind numbing. I’m also a more “at the end of the day” type decision maker. Soooo, you recommend the Dynafit 2.0 binding over the Marker Kingpin if the primary purpose is backcountry use. That is what I’m looking for, as I have a good ski area set up, and likely won’t use the BC stuff there. A couple concerns, tho. 1) People mention the pin heel binding needs to be skied different than the step in heel type of the Kingpin. Is this noticeable? Being primarily a downhill skier, will this be a NOTICEABLE issue for me?

    2) I”ve seen other reviews mentioning the slider motion of the Kpin can get jammed with snow/ice, making it difficult to transition from one mode to another. Thoughts/experience on that?

    3) Dynafit 2.0 ST vs. FT. The only diff I can see (besides DIN setting) is a wider base plate on the FT for better leverage on wider skiis. My ski is gonna be 102 mm under foot. Is the more expensive/heavier FT really going to be noticable? Will set DIN to 8.0.

    I’m changing my BC equipment from tele to AT, so it’s all good discussion. Getting older, and I’m just a better alpine skier than tele skier.

  87. apingaut November 24th, 2015 2:48 pm

    Duane

    You are in a similar situation to me last year. Moved from Tele to AT.

    I do not know if there is a huge difference between the Kingpin and Dynafit 2.0 heal for retention/release. Both release at the heel and that is very different then an alpine binding with toe release, thus the light heel touch.

    From my experience you will not notice the need to ski a light heel if you are in soft snow (don’t we all dream of that?). But for me being in the east with wind hammered, bullet proof, snow a lot of the time I think just about everyone locks the toes out because light heel is pretty tough to come by in those conditions. That sort of bums me out and worries me long term as some day I’ll eat it and want a releasable binding.

    I am super curious how much better the 2.0 binding (kingpin or dynafit) are over the 1.X from 2014/2015. But have not seen any resounding responses or concrete comparisons.

  88. Duane November 24th, 2015 4:24 pm

    Thanks for your perspective on heel differences, Apingaut Just got back from the local ski shop, and the guy there pretty much echoed your thoughts. On boiler plate stuff, the KPin heel would be better. In fluff, he prefers the DFit 2.0, mainly because it’s lighter with no noticeable performance decline. For me, in Colorado, I”m probably not going to even venture out into the BC unless there’s good fluff. I’ll just ski the resort.. Spoiled? Yes, guilty.

    As for Dfit 1.0 vs 2.0, the shop dude seemed to think there were big improvements (he was selling both). Mainly the pivot toe piece, making it safer and more forgiving with less pre-release. I also noticed the side to side sliding heel plate, like the sliding plate on the toe piece of a downhill binding. Didn’t see that on the 1.0. With the toe pivot, and the sliding plate on the heel, intuitively it seems that would be safer, IMO. Also, the 2.0 has more metal, less plastic than 1.0, so more durable. He also said the ST is fine, if you don’t need the higher DIN. He skis the ST with 120mm skis, and has no issues. He said, “In good fluff, it doesn’t matter” Hard snow, maybe another issue.

  89. Lou Dawson 2 December 21st, 2015 9:41 pm

    Duane, I think you’re making some good analysis, but don’t get sucked into the metal vs plastic mythology. Some of the worst breakage on ski touring bindings over the years has been on metal parts. It’s all about how the metal and plastic are engineered and produced, not if they’re metal or plastic. Lou

  90. Mark Levin December 22nd, 2015 12:33 am

    I have some old randonnee bindings that might be a nice add to your collection. Email me for details if you are interested.

  91. Lou Dawson 2 December 22nd, 2015 6:13 am

    Hans and all, re the things you’re saying about Kingpins. I’m not sure what’s going on here but for now I call BS on it and am deleting your posts because they appear to be shills that are slagging a legit product. If I’m wrong, I will apologize here and re-instate your comments.

    The reason I’m doing this is you said they pulled the product from their website. I went to REI website and browsed for Kingpin. It is right there in full glory.

    http://www.rei.com/search.html?q=randonee+ski+bindings&ir=q%3Arandonee+ski+bindings&page=1

    Lou

  92. Lewis December 22nd, 2015 8:11 am

    re: deleted posts/missing product page
    Lou, I checked REI.com right after the deleted post was made and the page had (apparently temporarily) been removed. As you saw, it’s back up now.

  93. Lou Dawson 2 December 22nd, 2015 8:41 am

    Yeah, I’m trying to get some back story so I can interpret what’s going on. Probably not a big deal. I’ve used and bench tested Kingpin extensively and they work just as good as any other tech binding, and better than some. Some of the best skiers in the world crank on them… Lou

  94. Lewis December 22nd, 2015 8:55 am

    Am leaning toward KP myself for a Megawatt rig to be used for resort pow days and BC. Trying to decide between 10 and 13 version. Usually ski at about 8 DIN on alpine binders.

  95. Ryschult1 December 22nd, 2015 9:05 am

    Love my Kingpin’s. I’ve got them on a pair of Volkl Katana’s and they drive that ski with no problem. Got 8-9 backcountry days on them already with no issues. For $50 more go for the 13.

  96. Lewis December 22nd, 2015 9:16 am

    Thx, Ryschult1. Will the 13 ski differently if never set above 8?

  97. Ryschult1 December 22nd, 2015 11:31 am

    Hey Lewis-
    I’m probably not a good resource for that unfortunately…….. I ski mine at a 7. I went with the 13 because the word through the shop I bought them from mentioned that the 13 had stronger toe tension and for better resale value. They climb fantastic and descend similar to an alpine binding.

  98. Hans December 22nd, 2015 1:02 pm

    Lou, sorry that my question came across as suspicious. I was just trying to get information from people who are more plugged in than me.

    Not B.S. I also sent query to REI, and they responded right away, see below. He also gave a phone # if you want to call him. The bindings are indeed available again today, so they must have addressed their concern. Thanks for always sharing your expertise.

    FROM REI:
    —————–
    Thank you for the e-mail the Marker Kingpin Bindings.

    It has come to our attention that the Kingpin 10 and 13 bindings fail the binding release test when tested with the Vermont binding tester when mounted to skis. Currently a recall is not in effect. We have temporarily halted sales of the Kingpins until we have more information.

    Currently we not sure whether it’s a problem with the binding, testing device or a combination of the two. We are working closely with Marker to resolve the issue. Unfortunately at the moment we have not been given an estimate as to when this will be resolved.

    We appreciate your patience and apologized for any inconvenience this may have caused. If we can be of further assistance, please contact us.

    Wishing you wonderful outdoor adventures.

    Chris C.
    REI Product Information Specialist

  99. Lou Dawson 2 December 22nd, 2015 7:22 pm

    A ski shop that knows what they’re talking about…

    Lewis, the bindings will ski identical to each other, aside from the fact that an agro skier might get better retention from the stronger springs of the 13 toe.

    What I’m trying to get a grip on is why they used 6 springs. I’ve not spoken with one engineer who told me they would be necessary in any way, unless it was to make the toe retention force higher, which my testing reveals they do not any more than some of the other bindings with only 4 springs. I have faith in Marker, so there must be something I’m missing.

    Lou

  100. Lou Dawson 2 December 22nd, 2015 7:33 pm

    This is a TUV certified binding to standard 13992. I suspect it was a problem with the testing device, or perhaps the operator of the testing device — or perhaps the testing device encountered the known problem of inconsistent boot fittings. Lou

  101. Lou Dawson 2 December 22nd, 2015 7:35 pm

    Hans and all, when you want to leave comments about product, please leave specific details so I know you are for real. Hans did this, which I appreciate immensely. Lou

  102. See December 22nd, 2015 8:01 pm

    Why 6? Maybe change in resonant frequency? Almost certainly more friction/damping.

  103. Grant January 1st, 2016 1:20 pm

    Hey Lou, I’d LOVE to see a Beast vs Radical 2.0 comparison. I’m a long time Dynafit user and I trust/believe in the binding/brand. I’m having some trouble getting my K2 Pinnacles with the Beast horseshoe to play nice with the rest of my quiver. (I’ve commented about this in two other threads.) I’m wondering just how far away the Radical 2.0 is from the Beast… Cheers, gh

  104. Ralph January 6th, 2016 5:20 pm

    Hey Lou,

    In your opinoin, has the 2.0 or kingpin dethroned the Vertical FT as your all time favourite tech binding? If not, what are some of the short comings of the KP and 2.0?

    Also, is it noticable improvement skiing hardpack/groomers with the rotating toe?

  105. Todd Davis January 17th, 2016 6:57 am

    I’m currently skiing a Dynafit binding on a Coomback that’s at least 5 years old and having no problems. This ski has become my early season, resort & BC setup. My second setup is a Dynafit Radical ST 1.0 on a Voile V8 and am having an issue with the heel which I’m hoping Dynafit is going to warranty. The heel on both skis has developed a significant play in all directions to the point that when I noticed it I thought the binding plate was coming loose from the ski. It is not and it appears it’s the actual post which the heel piece sits on which is rocking. Interestingly I do not ski this setup in the resort and don’t even have two full seasons on them. If Dynafit does not warranty I’ll be looking at a new binding. This will of course leave a bad taste in my mouth regarding Dynafit but I have used Dynafit bindings for over 15 years without prior issues so I don’t want to completely rule them out. I’ve narrowed my choices down to the Kingpin and the Radical ST 2.0. It’s been a long time since I’ve skied on a real alpine binding and I don’t really have an issue as to how the Dynafit bindings ski but maybe if I skied the Kingpin I’d be amazed! So the issues for me in the choice come down to the following:

    1) Kingpin slightly heavier (130 grams/binding or slightly < 5oz)
    2) Perhaps better skiing feel with Kingpin
    3) Maybe better releasability/safety with Kingpin; i've had both ACL's reconstructed though not had a problem releasing from prior Dynafits when they really need to and the version 2.0 maybe has better safety with the new toe piece?
    4) Transitioning. Looks like with Kingpin transitioning from uphill to downhill (taking skins off) requires taking ski off. In fairness, the Radical ST 1.0 with the heel which can only be turned in one direction is also a kind of pain in the ass to do this with as well so often I end up taking the ski off. I do like that with the Kingpin you can flip into climbing mode without taking the ski off for those occasional flats or short little climbs one seems to always encounter in the backcountry! In the Dynafit version 2.0 appears heel can again be turned in either direction.
    5) Cost. The Radical ST 2.0 is about $50.00 less but really they're both ridiculously expensive and I guess I'm not going to let that be the determining factor!

    As always any real world experience relating to these choices or corrections on my understanding of the two bindings will be greatly appreciated!

  106. Lou Dawson 2 January 17th, 2016 10:11 am

    Hi Todd, I’m kinda busy at the moment but gave your post a quick read. Seems like you’ve pretty much got it dialed. You never know how the “off warranty warranty” system is going to work a these companies. It’s probably based on what spare parts they have laying around. In terms of what causes the play you’re seeing, it can be a lot of things. The weirdest? Know that with your version of Dynafit binding the ski top skin is actually part of the binding system, in that the rear binding spindle base rests on the topskin, and can end up wallowing out a gap that causes play. You might want to de-mount a binding and check this before contacting Dynafit. Lou

  107. Todd Davis January 17th, 2016 12:39 pm

    Lou thanks for the insight on what the issue might be with my current binding. It seems I’d seen some mention of that as a possible problem, probably a thread on Wildsnow! If this in fact is the case that seems to be a major design flaw and I wonder what the solution is? Again it seems like I recall something about duct tape as a fix but that’s not real confidence inspiring. Lastly if I put either a version 2.0 Radical or a Kingpin on would that heel mount right over any damage to the top sheet of the ski?

  108. Robert G. February 9th, 2016 1:53 pm

    Can the Kingpin be used with Terminator X tele NTN boot?
    Is there space for the shim to be used? Or is the shim not needed since that lever may act as support.

    I have these boots and have yet to set them up for Tech bindings but would like to do so on next pair of skis. My legs are getting old.

  109. Lisa Dawson February 9th, 2016 2:03 pm

    Robert, we doubt it.

  110. trollanski February 10th, 2016 6:13 am

    Hi Robert. We were able to notch out the rear of the adapter plate to fit with our rental Kingpins, however, removing material will obviously weaken the design, and could limit their longevity….

  111. Robert G. February 10th, 2016 8:38 am

    Trollanski, so you are saying the plate is used but hits part of the binding so you had to notch it. That makes sense. Does the plate get in way of the usage of the binding lever?
    Have you ever heard of anyone using ntn bindings in front and a dynafit tech heal piece? This way the binding set up can be used for tele turns and alpine (locked heal) turns with same set up? Just thinking out of box.

  112. Lou Dawson 2 February 10th, 2016 9:09 am

    Robert, sure, if you google around you can find guys who have set up tele bindings that have some sort of heel latching device. 30 years ago that used to be a fairly common fantasy and even back then there were a few attempts to retail stuff like that. Nowadays, the elegance and simplicity of a normal tech binding setup dominates, and for good reason. I’d suggest if you’re thinking of using an AT setup, you keep it simple, get a pair of normal AT boots that do not have a bellows, mount lighter weight version of tech bindings on a nice wide forgiving ski, slap on a pair of quality mohair skins, and go have some fun. Lou

  113. xav February 16th, 2016 5:05 am

    Re: dynafit vs kingpin comparo

    I just had a first day of skinning on my kingpins and the snow build up & ice up at the heel is a huge issue in wet/sticky snow. Definitely more noticeable and harder to clean than on the dynafits due to heel construction. Given the conditions were quite peculiar I wonder if anyone is experiencing similar issues regularly?
    Other than that the non-tech heel connection feels noticeably more solid.

  114. Scott February 24th, 2016 11:05 am

    I have been skiing lift service mountains for a month now on the Kingpins and I find them to be bomber with a definite more secure heel connection and NO worry about pre-release. Much better than my previous Dynafit setup. I still use the speed radicals for my long distance tours though, so much lighter in the backcountry.

    My ONLY complaint with the Kingpins is a constant icing up of the toe. After multiple laps in soft snow, the snow gets packed under the toe wings and you cannot open the toe with a pole. You can release the heel, then the toe, and that seems to work OK. Definitely a pain in the A>>! My next option is try to spray some silicon into the toe to see if that helps.

  115. Marco March 1st, 2016 12:35 pm

    I have had the KingPin (strong version) for 2 seasons, I have my 3rd replacement now. This is combined with lost ski days, frustrations, bad falls and so on. I did not even get a letter from Marker with a reason for the defect. This was my worse experience with customer service I ever had. The sport shop even did not know about the issues with the binding. How can we trust in such a company?

  116. Scott March 1st, 2016 3:33 pm

    Marco –
    What was the issue you had with the binding? Sounds strange since Marker has been making great bindings for 40+ years.

  117. Mats March 7th, 2016 12:09 pm

    In Dynafits promo video for the 2.0 they make a point that elastic rotation at the heel will cause the toe to flip out from a non-rotating toe piece. This should in that case also be true for the non-rotating King Pin. How can the King Pin have elastic horisontal properties with a fixed toe?

  118. VT skier April 1st, 2016 2:29 pm

    Just had one of the sliding grey AFD plates on my Radical 2.0s disappear. I had just picked up my newly mounted Rads on my Nunataqs.
    Didn’t have a chance to ski the binding yet or even put the boot in the binding.

    The shop says they will warranty this with Dynafit, but I just wonder if there is an improved AFD assembly. If the AFD is part of the release system it shouldn’t blow up in the shop, let alone skiing on it.

  119. Lou Dawson 2 April 1st, 2016 5:24 pm

    One of the first problems with Radical was the AFD coming apart, and we still see it happening now and then. Our theory is that some of the older AFD/brake assemblies kind of randomly ended up on newer bindings. In any case, I’d give it another go and of course it should be warranted. Lou

  120. VT skier April 1st, 2016 6:10 pm

    Thanks Lou,
    Are the earlier AFDs the grey ones?

  121. Lou Dawson 2 April 1st, 2016 7:49 pm

    Did you google your way to this?

    https://www.wildsnow.com/6908/dynafit-radical-broken/

    Not sure about grey, but could be…. it was a while ago.

    Lou

  122. cima April 12th, 2016 7:06 am

    Probably the best two bindings on the market. At least in terms of quality and reliability. The binding is the heart of your skitouring equipment. There should be no compromises for an ambitioius mountaineer. The Fritschi Vipec could be worth to campare, too. G3 Ion is a toy. Despite the robust look, it’s going to fall apart in difficult snow condition. I made my experiences.

  123. See April 12th, 2016 9:14 am

    What were your experiences?

  124. Lou Dawson 2 April 12th, 2016 9:19 am

    We’ve got quite a few days on ION at Wildsnow, probably a few hundred if you include all our testers and bindings. Only problem so far has been the brakes sticking closed with the rental binding version, and some play in the heel unit of the same. All the consumer models 10,12,LT have been nearly flawless, only issue being the brakes icing occasionally and not latching down properly. I’ve been enjoying the peace of them just working — though I do like the LT best without brake. Lou

  125. Michael April 12th, 2016 12:40 pm

    Cima, what was your issue with the Ion?

    I’ve also had a good experience with the Ion LTs as well as regular Ions. My only issue is that the heel risers are a little loose/jiggly with use. They still stay in place when skinning/kick turning and don’t totally flop around. So they work fine. It’s not a warranty issue. They’re just not as tight/crisp as they were when new. I wish they were spring loaded.

  126. Lou Dawson 2 April 12th, 2016 2:18 pm

    Michael, all our ION bindings have spring loaded heel lifters. Do you have a pre-production sample pair or something? Lou

  127. Michael April 12th, 2016 2:41 pm

    Lou, I have the normal Ions. I guess they’re spring loaded in that the little piece of plastic deforms under the risers to keep them in place I meant a coiled metal spring like the radicals.

    I like everything else about the Ions. And to be clear they haven’t let me down, just mild slop in the risers. For the foreseeable future, I’m sticking with Ions. Very happy with them.

  128. Lou Dawson 2 April 12th, 2016 3:48 pm

    Michael, I think the slop is intentional, better for the riser to move a little bit then for stress and tension to break things. I don’t understand how the “slop” affects anything in terms of touring performance. Can you clarify more? Thanks, Lou

  129. Michael April 13th, 2016 11:07 am

    Hi Lou. You’re right they don’t affect anything. The risers stay in place with kick turns. They just aren’t as crisp as when I bought them, that’s all. They don’t have that nice ‘snap’ into place.

    I will say that early last year I did actually break 1 riser (the plastic thing under the riser broke and the risers were just flopping around and wouldn’t stay in place). I got them warrantied and haven’t had any issues since.

  130. Naum November 3rd, 2016 7:49 am

    What do you guys think about ATK Raider 12 2.0 vs Racial FT 2.0 (same price for me).
    I’ll use it with Salomon MTN explore 95 skis, and also in resort.
    I prefer lightness of Raider but I am suspicious about its 30×27 front holes pattern.
    Thank you

  131. Lou Dawson 2 November 3rd, 2016 8:14 am

    Naum, why are you suspicious of the Raider hole pattern? Lou

  132. Naum November 3rd, 2016 8:29 am

    Because of the possibility of tear during aggressive ride. All newer bindings have wider pattern. 30×27 is old Vertical standard..
    End on the other side I dont know if I can mount Raider 14 on my Salomon MTN Explore 95, because its strengthened part for binding is 55mm and 14’s outer pattern is 60x60mm. But Raider 14 have inner holes which is also 30×27..
    But again I prefer 12 because of lightness..
    Can You give me advice what is the best binding for me (I’ll ski with that combo also in resort)..
    THank YOu

  133. Lou Dawson 2 November 3rd, 2016 8:36 am

    Hi Naum, much of this is perception. If you have any sort of concern about how wide the binding is, then use the wider binding. Otherwise you’ll be skiing around thinking about your binding possibly ripping out of your ski. Lou

  134. Naum November 3rd, 2016 8:45 am

    I think you’re right. It’s all up to the head :-).
    but the weight is real and I probably don’t by FT 2.0 although I already have Radical ST (first) and didn’t have problem with it.. And I do not believe much in the usefulness of the new rotational front part…

  135. AirVetra February 27th, 2017 1:53 pm

    Hi, everyone!

    Great review and discussion!

    I’m currently on decision point with the bindings and my favorites just the same: KP and Radical 2 ST or even FT.

    I’m ambition rider on slopes and now enchancing my experience with some skituring and end freetouring.

    Now I’m using Elan himalaya 184 (95mm) with tyrollia ambition bindings (test setup) and newly bought Dynafit Neo PX boots. I like the feelieng like real alpine power transition, good change of the slope angel, not good weight, transition to ski is also needs some attention with icing… And really dont like the scratches on the boots from alpine type of connection.

    Will use new setup 50/50 slopes and out of them… Skis – new Elan Ibex Carbon 94 mm 184, I’m 185 cm and 76 kg, using 8-9 tension…

    Want light but performing bindings, now more likely Radical 2 FT (seems FT is stringer and more power transfering) but if the feelieng of the power transfering is hugely worse than real alpine binding – will change to KP…

    Any sugestions, updates, argues about it?

    Thanks in advance!!!

  136. Aleisha July 29th, 2017 3:42 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Looking at getting the marker kingpins but have atomic backland womens boots. Will the adapter that Marker sell work with my boots and the Kingpin binding or am I better to go with the Dynafit radical. I like the idea of the alpine heal as it is my first touring setup and still will be riding on resort with them.
    Cheers

  137. Lou Dawson 2 August 1st, 2017 1:35 pm

    Hi Aleisha, good question, the Radical just makes more sense to me, as pairing a full-on freeride binding with a light touring boot seems a bit off. On the other hand, the Marker heel indeed has more vertical travel. I’ve found in many bench tests that the Kingpin heel has to carefully adjusted and evaluated as the shape of some boots simply does not perform well in concert with the rollers on the binding heel unit. Each setup seems to be different and require TLC. Lou

  138. Ken December 3rd, 2017 10:07 am

    Hi Lou Now that we are retired, my wife and I are purchasing our first sets of back country gear for touring in west coast BC with ski access/end of day ski out through resorts. We use DIN’s of 5 and 6, respectively on our alpine bindings. We have been doing advanced/expert resort and cat skiing for 50+yrs .

    We accept that there are risks in skiing. That said, the selection of different technologies in touring bindings is baffling. We are considering Dynafit Radical ST, Marker Kingpin 10 or Fritschi Tecton. Which touring binding would you choose for your loved ones balancing retention, prerelease, weight, safety, durability, use in soft snow, etc.? Thanks for your help

  139. Lou Dawson 2 December 3rd, 2017 10:15 am

    Indeed, it’s pretty tough out there in terms of shopping. Essentially, the industry has shot itself in the foot, but on the other hand is really helping ski shops and yes websites to make their help and content valuable (smile).

    Essentially, regarding your question there is no ski binding, alpine our touring, that protects you against everything. My opinion is that properly adjusted tech bindings, when skied conservatively, do as good a job as is practical. Though there are certain angles and forces, depending on the binding, that can cause almost certain injury when invoked. I’m thinking that Tecton might be excellent, but it is unproven. That said, at your release value settings and style of skiing, it could work well for you. Kingpin for conservative skiing is really no different than any other tech binding. Radical ST is nice, but again, is just a tech binding really. What you could do is use Tecton, then if you discover you’re really wanting to cover some vertical you could eventually change to a lighter binding, or perhaps another ski/binding setup for bigger days.

    Do you have a good ski shop you can deal with?

    Lou





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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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