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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,932

    Letter to Marker Re-Kingpin

    Suggestions were to start a new thread.

    If people with pictures of broken kingpins can post them there I'll insert them into the letter.

    For those that haven't read it, here it is.

    Problem Brewing With the Kingpin?

    The Kingpin, upon its release in 2014, was heralded as the binding that could handle it all. It could be used inbounds at the resort, out in the slack country, and of course in the backcountry. Its claim was that the heel-release system was superior to that of pin-based tech bindings and gave a more alpine-like feel on the descent.

    It would seem that almost no ski brand has been spared from first generation alpine touring binding issues as we’ve seen problems with the Dynafit Radical 1.0, Plum Guide, G3 Onyx, Marker F12/F10, and Fritschi Freeride just to name a few. The Kingpin was not excluded from this and their issue came in the form of toe pins falling out after brief usage.

    Tech toe pins are designed to keep the boot connected to the toe piece on both the uphill and downhill. On the Kingpin the failure point was thankfully easily identifiable due to the design and prolonged period before the pin fell out.

    Marker attributed these failures to an issue in their early-intro production series where the press-fit pins were not being assembled properly. They quickly addressed the problem by recalling the problem toes and changing the production process.

    Now, almost 4 years after the initial release, a second batch of issues has arisen. This time the issues are not exclusive to the toe pieces but include the heel pieces as well. However, it does not seem to be limited to a single batch of the bindings and instead spreads across several different purchase periods.

    It is not the heel piece failures that are extremely concerning but the toe piece ones. Now, instead of the toe pins slowly falling out, they are shearing suddenly and unexpectedly. For many skiers equipment failures can result in injuries, but in the backcountry, where high consequence lines are much more prevalent, it can result in death.

    A group of users (affectionately known as “Maggots” or “Mags”) on the popular ski forum TetonGravityResearch have begun to document their issues with the Kingpin. At first, it was only observed and documented by a few members but it has since grown. What started off as sporadic and perhaps random occurrences has become a troubling trend. A few Mags have even seen failures after receiving warrantied units. Thankfully, so far no Mag has been hurt.

    But the fact remains that these issues are worrisome. For the Mags, the equipment failures are not coming from repeated severe impacts or even heavy usage but from simple daily backcountry tours and inbounds skiing. And it has been observed between multiple people. Their fear is that soon one of these failures will occur when they are miles from their car in the backcountry, at the top of a high consequence line, or even worse, during a high consequence run.

    This is not the first time TGR has been at the forefront of serious equipment failures, as almost a decade ago popular Mag managed to severely injure himself after Salomon released their Quest line of boots with a serious design flaw in their tech fittings. Lou Dawson of Wildsnow.com managed to confirm the design flaw with his own testing and soon after prompted a recall by Salomon of the defective toe pieces.

    This time the Mags believe they are capable of preventing another scenario where an equipment failure can lead to injury or death and have attempted to reach out to Marker. So far, there has been minimal communication between members of the forum and the company despite the attempts of several different mags. At the time of writing this piece, Marker has yet to issue a recall or even acknowledge that there may be another potential issue with the binding.
    Goal is to have a final draft approved by the TGR masses by midweek and to send it out before the week is over.

    So far I figure I should send it to the following:

    1. TGR
    2. Newschoolers
    3. Unofficialnetworks
    4. Doglotion
    5. Blistergearreview (maybe?)
    6. Powder Mag
    7. Freeskier Mag
    8. Backcountry Magazine
    9. The Skier Journal

    I'll suggest they try to reach out to Marker before running the story. If they don't get a response then they should run it as is.

    If they get one, I'll ask for them to insert the comments from Marker and please have a representative get in touch with the forum members who have had issues.

    Any other suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    42
    Model: 2016-2017 Kingpins (2nd gen). Used both for resort skiing and for touring. First failure occurred after apx. 70 days, the second after apx. 100 days of use.

    Profile: 5'11'', 170lbs.

    First failure (pin shearing) occurred on a groomed slope, without any noticeable hits:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Second failure (toe wing ripped) occurred following a small 3 feet jump with a soft-pack landing:

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    17,487
    Quote Originally Posted by nyskirat View Post
    .

    So far I figure I should send it to the following:

    1. TGR
    2. Newschoolers
    3. Unofficialnetworks
    4. Doglotion
    5. Blistergearreview (maybe?)
    6. Powder Mag
    7. Freeskier Mag
    8. Backcountry Magazine
    9. The Skier Journal

    I'll suggest they try to reach out to Marker before running the story. If they don't get a response then they should run it as is.

    If they get one, I'll ask for them to insert the comments from Marker and please have a representative get in touch with the forum members who have had issues.

    Any other suggestions?
    well yeah cuz Marker have already ignored nickel once so what would make them want to respond with anything more than " talk to your dealer " is the question ... maybe when other ski journalists start asking
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Summit North
    Posts
    5,852

    Letter to Marker Re-Kingpin

    A) while pictures appear as proof to you, in a court of law they are still anecdotal. Unless each and every failure presented is examined by a qualified professional and it can be proven that the product was not improperly used or abused in a way that lead to the failure, they aren't worth a lot.
    B) legal council for Marker will advise employees to not responding (see above)
    C) regardless of what marketing words say, if you believe that a pin tech binding will take inbounds daily driver abuse, you are fooling yourself. A perfect example of this is the direction that Salomon chose to go with the Switch.

    It sucks when shit breaks, I get it, I hate it too, but all manufactured goods have a failure rate that all the testing in the world can't predict. And, as consumers we come up with ways to make things fail that even the best of product engineers wouldn't be able to duplicate in a lab. Unless CPSC gets involved and some sort of recall is mandated I don't see this getting traction.
    Alpental Indigenous

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    whistler
    Posts
    939
    Good for you. Please move on then.

    I went through my files and unfortunately don't have pictures of my failures. Kind if pissed at myself for this.

    For info: 2x toe pin shears and 2x heel piece cracks in female portion of rail system. ~100 days of use. Roughly 60/40 back country use vs inbounds use. Bought in December 2016.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Sandy, Utah
    Posts
    11,206
    Quote Originally Posted by ACH View Post
    A) while pictures appear as proof to you, in a court of law they are still anecdotal. Unless each and every failure presented is examined by a qualified professional and it can be proven that the product was not improperly used or abused in a way that lead to the failure, they aren't worth a lot.
    B) legal council for Marker will advise employees to not responding (see above)
    C) regardless of what marketing words say, if you believe that a pin tech binding will take inbounds daily driver abuse, you are fooling yourself. A perfect example of this is the direction that Salomon chose to go with the Switch.

    It sucks when shit breaks, I get it, I hate it too, but all manufactured goods have a failure rate that all the testing in the world can't predict. And, as consumers we come up with ways to make things fail that even the best of product engineers wouldn't be able to duplicate in a lab. Unless CPSC gets involved and some sort of recall is mandated I don't see this getting traction.
    I know quite a few that ski lightly enough to ski, and do ski, dynafit inbounds 95% of the time. I could get away with it but would have to dial back a little.

    I agree that shit does fail, but these failures seem pretty bad. As said earlier lots of dynafit failures, but few that seem this bad in terms of how random and how badly they could hurt you.

    Sent from my XT1650 using TGR Forums mobile app
    http://www.firsttracksonline.com

    I wish i could be like SkiFishBum

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    whistler
    Posts
    939
    I don't think this needs to turn into another "how bad is this situation" discussion. I feel this thread should stay clean of bickering and be a place to post details of failures. If you think it's fine that this binding is experiencing repeated identical failures of a critical component then good for you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Summit North
    Posts
    5,852

    Letter to Marker Re-Kingpin

    Quote Originally Posted by nickel View Post
    Good for you. Please move on then.
    [shrug] Have fun storming the castle [/shrug]
    Alpental Indigenous

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    493
    Quote Originally Posted by nyskirat View Post
    Any other suggestions?
    TGR, the original thread and your list of recipients is 100% north american.
    I haven't heard of similar problems in Scandi-land, but you might consider adding norwegian magazine "FriFlyt", and swedish magazine "Åka Skidor". Euro-mags might add other suggestions.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Zurich, Switzerland
    Posts
    314
    Quote Originally Posted by sf View Post
    TGR, the original thread and your list of recipients is 100% north american.
    I haven't heard of similar problems in Scandi-land, but you might consider adding norwegian magazine "FriFlyt", and swedish magazine "Åka Skidor". Euro-mags might add other suggestions.
    additional suggestions for europe:
    skipass.com
    freeskiers.net
    powderguide.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    676
    Friflyt.no and akaskidor.se are two other ones in Europe.

    Edit: I see that SF already mentioned them. And for what it's worth. I haven't heard about a single kingpin breaking here in Norway either. Not that it means anything.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    north aspect
    Posts
    43,065
    hey now, Alpinezone isn’t chopped liver.
    bF
    Alpental Indigenous

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    A LSD Steakhouse somewhere in the Wasatch
    Posts
    10,774
    make sure you state there was at least 1 ski tech on the tgrz
    who said markers suck
    .
    before you bought them
    "When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
    "I find I have already had my reward, in the doing of the thing" - Buzz Holmstrom
    "THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -
    ski on in eternal peace

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Verdi NV
    Posts
    7,779
    Quote Originally Posted by skifishbum View Post
    make sure you state there was at least 1 ski tech on the tgrz
    who said markers suck
    .
    before you bought them
    Maker is for gapers.

    I thought everyone here knew that
    Own your fail. ~Jer~

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    my own little world
    Posts
    2,252
    Tuning in, but just a touron. Couple thoughts, though, since it seems we're struggling with context on both sides:

    OP: While we're proud to be "maggots" or whatever, nobody else cares. It's for exclusivity. Notoriety. It's a club. Which runs cross purposes to what we're trying to do here. Don't explain that we're mags. It won't resonate and it detracts from the message. We're skiers, representatives of the entire ski community, not just a dark corner of the internet. "A group of skiers on the Teton Gravity Research ski forums (tetongravity.com/forums) began to document these issues..." "A few members..."

    ACH: I don't think the point of this is to engage legal pressure, or the CPSC, or whatever. It's PR. Make the PR bad enough for Marker to acknowledge and correct the issue and give them an opportunity to turn it into a feel-good PR story, rather than a compelling reason for anybody who does even the slightest bit of pre-purchase research to choose a competitor binding. So, while pictures are only anecdotal in a court of law, in this context they're ammunition, and those visuals are a powerful reason to choose one of the other great bindings in this narrow market segment.
    focus.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sonoma & Truckee
    Posts
    11,227
    Yes, PR should be the approach, definitely not legal. Until someone gets seriously injured due to a product failure they've been actively ignoring.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    LV-426
    Posts
    15,564
    Quote Originally Posted by Mustonen View Post

    OP: While we're proud to be "maggots" or whatever, nobody else cares. It's for exclusivity. Notoriety. It's a club. Which runs cross purposes to what we're trying to do here. Don't explain that we're mags. It won't resonate and it detracts from the message. We're skiers, representatives of the entire ski community, not just a dark corner of the internet. "A group of skiers on the Teton Gravity Research ski forums (tetongravity.com/forums) began to document these issues..." "A few members..."
    Agree on this. Cut the part about maggots.

    Also, did Marker actually market this binding as usable inbounds? If so, I would state that in the piece - rather than "heralded" (which does not attribute its usability inbounds to anyone) I would quote Marker's own marketing material as representing it as being durable enough for everyday use at a ski resort, while retaining the light weight and pin technology sought by backcountry skiers.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sonoma & Truckee
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    11,227
    Quote Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
    Also, did Marker actually market this binding as usable inbounds?
    Yes, absolutely.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    SF & the Ho
    Posts
    5,674
    Isn't pugski the new epic? And for gods sake get alpinegreg on this case already

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Sandy, Utah
    Posts
    11,206
    I was just looking at the kingpin on markers site. While they do say it's basically din certified I could find zero reference to it being a capable replacement for Alpine bindings inbounds. They specifically state numerous times the word "Backcountry".
    I agree that any rep I ever talked to said they should hold up in bounds, but the legalese probably protects marker here.

    At least one user has.had multiple failures during the bindings intended use, so there is that. Either way marker should be doing something about this.

    Sent from my XT1650 using TGR Forums mobile app
    http://www.firsttracksonline.com

    I wish i could be like SkiFishBum

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,932
    Will remove the mag part and double check the marketing jargon used across different websites.

    If someone could find the original PR on the Kingpin that may help

  22. #22
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sonoma & Truckee
    Posts
    11,227
    It really doesn’t matter how they marketed it. This isn’t a court case. There have been plenty of BC failures.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    whistler
    Posts
    939
    Quote Originally Posted by Skidog View Post
    I was just looking at the kingpin on markers site. While they do say it's basically din certified I could find zero reference to it being a capable replacement for Alpine bindings inbounds. They specifically state numerous times the word "Backcountry".
    I agree that any rep I ever talked to said they should hold up in bounds, but the legalese probably protects marker here.

    At least one user has.had multiple failures during the bindings intended use, so there is that. Either way marker should be doing something about this.

    Sent from my XT1650 using TGR Forums mobile app
    I think the copy has changed on the website. I too had a look. I can't imagine all the online retailers would just add in the stuff about inbounds use of their own volition as it's general a direct copy/paste from brand material. As stated elsewhere, isn't of a huge importance.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    whistler
    Posts
    939
    Some gems from the south coast touring FB group.

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  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Missoula, MT
    Posts
    19,891
    Remember when mags wouldn't even look at Markers?

    So you guys are saying your failures came after ~100 days of hard use on a pin tech touring binding, including inbounds? Seems about right. What's the problem?
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

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