Marker Kingpin M-Werks 12 2019 – 2020 Ski Binding | Review

The Kingpin M-Werks 12 is a slimmed-down version of the cracking Kingpin

Weight per binding: 620g
Release Value: 6 – 12 (DIN)
Riser Heights: 0˚, 7˚ & 13˚
Brake Sizes: 75 – 100 mm or 100 – 125 mm
Heel Adjustment: 28 mm
Price: £500


Why we chose the Marker Kingpin M-Werks 12: Classic binding, made better.

The Marker Kingpin was one of the first ‘hybrid’ bindings that combined a tech (pin) toe, with a more traditional downhill binding heel. Few had tried to create this dream binding setup before the Kingpin, but none ever nailed the execution as well as Marker did.

With that original Kingpin design now being four years old, Marker have handed it over to their “M-Werks” department to give it a good dressing down and keep it fighting with the rest of the competition (in a market that’s progressing at a pretty astonishing rate).

“Marker have handed it over to their “M-Werks” department to give it a good dressing down”

As we’ve discussed in our review for the Atomic Shift, our dream touring binding would carry downhill binding retention and elasticity at a weight of around 600g.

While I’m not going to claim that this binding is able to match the downhill performance of the Shift (you’re going to have to look at the heavier Tyrolia Adrenalin for that), the Kingpin does strike a great balance of retention, elasticity, usability and lightweight design – something that’ll make it the ideal choice for many backcountry skiers. So, let’s drill down on those features a bit…

Retention – probably the most important feature for the everyday ski-tourer. Essentially, how well does this binding hold your foot whilst arcing high-powered turns over firm snow and smoothly release exactly when you want it to?

The smooth ride of the original Kingpin is of course thanks to that alpine-like heel. The M-Werks Kingpin sees an update to this heel, with beefed-up ‘XXL Power Transmitters’ now present. These have been designed to give as much retention as possible by providing a large clamping area at the heel, and also provide a smooth release when required through two rotating bearings.

An all new 38mm wide mount pattern gives a much larger surface area to distribute the power across the ski. Three heel-riser options include a completely flat boot-to-ski tour mode of 0˚, plus 7˚ and 13˚ choices for comfort no matter how steep your partners decide to set the ski track.

“An all new 38mm wide mount pattern gives a much larger surface area to distribute the power across the ski”

Like an F1 team approaching an F1 car, M-Werks have stripped weight from the original Kingpin through the use of Carbon and Titanium; saving 100g overall from the previous version. These weight savings bring the Marker Kingpin M-Werks down to a weight of 620g.

More on the weight savings: Marker have stripped the classic “Triple Pack” of toe springs from the original Kingpin and brought in what looks like the exact same toe as the Alpinist – with a single spring which gives ample space to clear out any ice that may get clogged up underneath.

It’s this same toe that comes equipped with handy boot stops, to make steeping in that bit easier – something you’re going to be thankful for when trying to step in on a steep, icy slope.

You’ve got use of two heel risers

If you want to get your boot completely flat on the ski while touring, and generally want something less heavy than the Shift (850g), it’ll be worth giving this binding a look. It offers great all-day touring usability.

Coming in at an impressive weight of 620g, the Kingpin M-Werks faces some stiff competition from the Dynafit ST Rotation 12. Dynafit are able to offer slightly lighter weight (599g), alongside that Dynafit reliability, yet their product lacks an alpine-like heel and with that not as much direct to ski power transfer as the M-Werks Kingpin.

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