Marker Launches New Hybrid Freeride Touring Binding With Convertible Toe
The ski industry is always keeping us on our toes with new binding innovations every year. See what I did there?
Marker just spiced up the hybrid freeride touring binding category by launching their all new Marker DUKE PT binding, and it’s lookin’ pretty hot. It boasts the highly coveted DIN release value of 16, alpine style security and performance on the descents, and it converts to a lighter tech pin binding for the climbs.
Marker led the industry into the freeride touring binding realm when they first launched the DUKE back in the day, so it’s pretty exciting to see this new binding launch. Salomon / Atomic beat them to the frameless freeride touring binding launch with their SHIFT binding last year, but we’re stoked to see how the DUKE PT compares.
Marker explains how it works… “The biggest highlight on the new Duke PT is the innovative Ride & Hike toe. In ride mode it provides uncompromising downhill performance with full safety release properties up to DIN 16. In the event of a fall, the gliding AFD (Anti Friction Device) aids the lateral release unhindered by dirt, snow and ice. Switching the binding to hiking mode is simply a matter of unlocking the upper part of the toe piece and rotating it forward. In uphill mode, you have the option of saving 250 grams of weight per binding at the foot by removing the toe sections and stowing them in your backpack.
Alternatively, the toe housing sections can be locked in the forward rotated position so you can quickly revert to downhill mode after a short uphill section. To switch to downhill mode the toe housing is clicked back onto the base plate. It locks into place thanks to Auto Quad Lock technology, just by stepping into the binding, without any extra action required by the skier. Pin binding technology is integrated in the base plate underneath the toe housing section and operates in much the same way as the KingPin and Alpinist models from Marker. The toe piece also has Sole.ID technology, just like other products in the Royal Family. This makes the binding compatible with all boot sole types falling under the alpine (ISO 5355), touring (ISO 9523), or GripWalk (ISO 9523) norms.
Skiers using the Duke PT 16 will enjoy the superior holding power of the Inter Pivot Heel known from the former Jester and Duke models, and it has been redesigned to offer an easier step-in function. With its high-quality magnesium housing the heel covers release values from DIN 6 to 16, meeting the needs of even the most demanding big mountain environments. Premature releases are not only unwanted but also dangerous – this was something that played a major role in the development of the Duke PT and is the reason why the famous freeride heel from the Royal Family was used.”
Que the marketing hype video…
They continue… “The multi-functional Lock & Walk brake is another highlight in terms of functionality. In addition to the traditional braking function it offers a brake lock and a 10° climbing aid that can be operated with a ski pole. The key difference on the Duke PT 12 is a new Hollow Linkage heel, offering a weight savings of approximately 200 grams.”
Marker claims its currently the lightest binding in its class, but we’re a bit stumped on that claim. Duke PT 12 weighs in at 850 grams (single) in uphill mode and 1,090 grams in downhill mode. The Duke PT 16 is slightly heavier, weighing in at 1,000 grams in uphill mode and 1,280 grams in downhill mode. Meanwhile, we believe the Salomon SHIFT weighs in at 865 (single) and doesn’t get any heavier in downhill mode, so there isn’t much exciting news about the DUKE PT, except of course that it’s waaaay lighter than previous DUKES and has DIN 16.
We don’t have any insider details on the binding and haven’t tried it yet, so let us know what you find once you get them on your feet.