Binding manufacturer Marker has issued a voluntary safety recall of 2017/18 models of its popular Kingpin touring binding. The announcement comes after widespread user reports of the pins in the toe piece loosening or breaking.
These bindings are being recalled because the Pin in the toe part can break under rare circumstances. This can result in reduced release/retention and leads to fall hazard.
The recall affects Kingpin 10 and Kingpin 13 bindings sold in 2017 and 2018, identifiable by logos on the toe pieces and the serial number on the heelpiece. Marker’s recall announcement provides a full guide to identifying affected models. Kingpin owners with recalled models can return their toe pieces to an authorized dealer to receive a replacement at no charge.
The news comes after some Kingpin users began reporting the issue last season. Members of the TGR forums even went so far as to draft a letter to Marker pointing out problems with both the heel piece and toe piece, but focusing on the main issue of pin shearing.
"I was having a grand ol time kicking a skintrack up one of the flanks of Mt Ushba in Svaneti and BAM, snapped one of the toepieces pins off," reported TGR forum user stoepstyle in one example. "I had an outrageously ridiculous time skiing 4k vert back down to the taxi using only 3 pins and progressively bending the single pin toepiece more and more until eventually I could no longer click in."
The recall represents further growing pains for the Kingpin, which debuted in 2014 with a lot of hype as a truly freeride-ready touring binding, fit for both inbounds shredding and backcountry excursions with an alpine-style heelpiece that appealed to downhill-oriented ski tourers. Since then, the Kingpin has faced recurring challenges, including loose pins in early-generation models and a copyright infringement case from G3, while remaining one of the most talked-about developments in touring tech. Assuming that Marker is able to quickly address and correct the recurring issues of pins loosening and breaking, it's a safe bet that the Kingpin will maintain its standing as one of the leading binding choices in the the growing touring market.
The following Q&A was sent by Marker to customers:
Marker Kingpin Recall 2018 – FAQ
Q. What products are being recalled? / Why did I receive a recall notice.
Marker is conducting a voluntary recall of Marker Kingpin ski bindings that were produced and sold during the 2017/2018 ski season. This recall does not affect any other Marker products.
Q. Why is Marker recalling these ski bindings?
We have identified some isolated instances of pin breakage in the toes that might result in an unexpected release and fall hazard. That is unacceptable to us, so we are voluntarily recalling all of the 2017/2018 production so we can replace the toe units of all bindings new toes that meet our requirements.
Q. Are there any legal requirements for ski bindings?
There are no government-mandated standards that apply to ski bindings sold in the United States or Canada, but we design our bindings to comply with European and ASTM safety standards, both of which are considered voluntary standards for ski bindings sold in North America. Some of these standards are mandatory for ski bindings sold in Europe. [Identify the standard as DIN ISO 13992:2007 if asked].
Q. How can I tell if my ski binding is among the ones being recalled?
We can help you make this determination by the serial number on the heel unit and by looking for the Marker logo on the toe unit [describe].
Q. Has anyone been hurt using these recalled ski bindings?
Skiers can fall down sometimes and get hurt because skiing is a hazardous sport, but we are not aware of anyone having been injured as a result of a broken pin.
Q. What am I supposed to do if I have one of these ski bindings?
If you have Kingpin ski bindings that are covered by the recall, please stop using them and bring them to your Marker Authorized Retailer, who will replace the toe units with new ones, free of charge.
Q. I like my bindings just the way they are; I’d prefer to keep them.
We’re glad you like your Kingpin bindings, but because this recall involves a potential safety issue you really need to return them.
Q. I received my ski bindings as a gift, or I’ve lost my proof of purchase for them. Can I still take advantage of the recall?
Proof of purchase is not required. We just need you to return the ski bindings to a Marker Authorized Retailer.
Q. I want to take advantage of the recall, but I’d like to keep my old ski bindings as a souvenir, can I do that?
Unfortunately not. We must take back the old ski bindings.
Q. I want to be sure my new ski bindings are the same color as what I have now. Can you guarantee that? Or, can you replace my bindings with a different color?
We will make every effort to provide replacement toe units in the same colors, gold or copper, as you originally purchased, but we can’t guarantee it.
Q. I’d rather just get my money back. Can you send me a refund instead of a replacement?
This recall does not involve offering a refund. The recall as authorized by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission / Health Canada calls for replacing recalled toe units with new ones. It does not authorize refunds.
Q. Has this recall been approved by the government?
Yes. We are conducting this recall in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission / Health Canada, who will monitor the effectiveness of this recall program.