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DIN-certified Ski Touring Bindings
So, you’re fond of the backcountry and even more fond of your knees. You’re in the market for a freeride-friendly ski touring binding with a DIN range up to 10, with plenty of elastic travel to soak up those big hits, and a reliable release.
Once upon a time, the thought of getting all that in one binding would have been the stuff of dreams. Then along came the Marker Kingpin 10 to shake up the whole market with its revolutionary approach and DIN-certified reliability.
Nowadays, the Kingpin isn’t the only binding on the market with that TUV certification. Dynafit has achieved the same sought-after mark with a few of their bindings, not least the new ST Rotation 10. Let’s see how they shape up against each other.
Marker Kingpin Review
If you’re unfamiliar with the Marker Kingpin 10, it’s Marker’s unique take on an elastic touring binding that tore up the rulebook. It appeared onto the market a few seasons ago after long delays and much rumour.
It’s safe to say that when the Kingpin 10 finally arrived, it did so to rapturous applause. Many felt that it had nailed the brief and almost made us completely reappraise how safe and reliable a pin-tech ski touring binding could be.
How does the Marker Kingpin release work?
The big innovation in the new Kingpin is in the heel. Marker has succeeded in introducing that essential lateral elasticity by using a more traditional alpine binding heel-piece than anything seen on a ski touring binding before.
Lateral elasticity is the ability of a binding to allow the boot to move from side to side under impact, without releasing your boot at critical moments. It’s something that modern alpine bindings do very well, particularly those aimed at high-impact activities like freeriding.
It’s worth remembering that the clever Kingpin heel piece isn’t compatible with all pin-tech ski boots. You may need to install an adapter, which is easy enough, although it will probably void the warranty on your ski boots.
How hard can you ski a Marker Kingpin?
By introducing lateral elasticity, Marker was able to add a level of reliability to their bindings that enabled them to become DIN-certified. This was something that no touring binding had managed before. It made the pin-tech style of binding capable of bearing heavy-hitting riders who would previously have to opt for a bulky frame ski binding.
Marker Kingpin Weight
The Marker Kingpin 10 ski bindings are a bit chunkier and burlier than the Dynafit ST Rotation 10, with a slightly wider base. You could argue that a larger base will transfer energy better into the edge of wider skis, but that’s not always a key consideration for every touring ski. That extra bulk also results in a little more weight. We’re talking 320g across the pair, so it’s not a whole heap, but in the world of the ounce-counter it could make the difference.
The Marker Kingpin 10 Ski Bindings Brake
If you are skiing wider skis, it’s worth noting that the brakes on the Marker Kingpin 10 are a little cheaper and easier to replace than on the Dynafit Rotation ST Bindings.
Where the Kingpin comes into with its usability:
- The heel risers are easier to flick (7 and 13 degrees).
- The ski/walk lever is simple and smooth.
- Mode changes are possible with your boot still attached to the ski.
- Marker’s ‘toe-stopper’ is simple and functional, but makes this binding super easy to step into.
All these things make a difference at the top of that knife-edge ridge when you’re getting ready to drop in.
Dynafit Rotation 10 Review
Dynafit’s launch of the Rotation ST 10 ski touring binding has now achieved the same DIN-certified status as Marker’s Kingpin 10. So how do the Marker Kingpin and the Dynafit Rotation compare?
How to use the Dynafit ST Rotation 10 Binding
The Dynafit ST Rotation 10 brings all the heritage that you’d expect from the innovative brand who invented today’s industry-standard pin-tech system. Dynafit has been at the forefront of the lightweight ski touring market for years. They have a huge following amongst uphill enthusiasts and ultralight ski-mountaineering enthusiasts.
They’ve taken some serious heat from the young guns at Marker and other brands like G3 and Plum in recent seasons though, which is why this head-to-head across DIN-certification is so interesting. Can Marker be so bold as to do Dynafit better than Dynafit does itself?
Dynafit ST Rotation 10 Weight
The slimmed-down and narrower ST Rotation weighs in at around 1198g per pair, which represents a reasonable weight saving over the Marker Kingpin 10 of 320 grams. Making them an ideal compromise between functionality and weight that’s ideal for fast and light ski touring with a knee-friendly lateral release.
All pin-tech ski touring boots will work with the ST Rotation without any additional adaptation. However, if you have wide skis then swapping the Dynafit ski brakes is not an easy process. Expect to spend a bit of time and money on swapping your ski brakes over.
Unfortunately, brake switch-out process isn’t the only place where the Dynafti ST Rotation 10 is a little trickier to operate than the Kingpin 10.
Dynafit ST Rotation 10 Toe-Piece
The ST Rotation 10 uses the Rotation 2.0 toe-piece, which has some clever auto-centring technology. This new Toe-piece makes them easier to align and step into than previous Dynafit models with the older free-rotating toe piece.
Dynafit ST Rotation 10 Heel Piece
The transition between ski and walk mode involves you rotating the heel piece. The action of switching the heel-piece between modes can seem a little stiff, and can normally only be done with the ski unattached from your boot. This isn’t always going to be ideal, depending on where you find yourself. You’ll find that flicking the heel risers up in walk mode isn’t as easy to do with the pole as it is on the Marker Kingpin 10 bindings.
The Dynafit system is tried-and-tested and loved by many, skiers who are happy with it, so it largely comes down to personal preference.
Marker Kingpin 10 Ski Bindings vs Dynafit ST Rotation 10 Ski Bindings. Which is best?
There’s a lot to think about with these two bindings, but it’s possible to simplify it all down to a few points where they match each other, and a few where they differ. It breaks down a little bit like this:
ST Rotation 10
|Replaceable brake||Cheaper, easier||More expensive, trickier|
|Boot compatibility||Incompatible with some tech boots||Compatible with all tech boots|
|Ski/walk transition||Super-easy||Slightly more fiddly|
|Heel risers||Two-position, easy to use with pole||Two-position, less easy to use with pole|
Which ski touring binding should I buy?
Buy the Marker Kingpin 10 if:
If looking for more of a freeride-focused binding. They’re ideal for use with wider skis, and great if you’d rather sacrifice a few grams in favour of slick, user-friendly operation.
Buy the Dynafit ST Rotation 10 if:
If you’re a weight-conscious ounce-counter who still wants to look after your knees. You like that Dynafit heritage, trust their system and don’t want to have to mess with the sole-heel of your favourite ski boots.