Whilst in Norway last month I had the opportunity to try out the much-heralded Marker Kingpin binding for a couple of days (thumbs down to SAS for sending my ski bag to Frankfurt instead of Oslo... thumbs up to Seth at Lofoten Ski Lodge for lending me a pair of skis...!).
I don't intend to offer an in-depth review (plenty has been written elsewhere detailing the fine details) but here are some impressions:
Weight - the Kingpins come in at a very acceptable weight for a 'beefy' pin binding. Combined with a pair of lightweight skis eg Whitedot Ranger Carbonlites or similar the overall package weight is reasonable, especially considering the following points...
The 'Marker clunk' - for those of you who have skied Dukes/Barons or Tour 10/12s you will know what I am on about here... the Tour 12 heel piece shuts with a plastic-sounding 'clack', the Baron/Duke heelpiece shuts with a hefty 'clunk'... you know you are in a beefy binding and that is has properly engaged. Its a very reassuring noise, especially when you are about to drop in to something steep. The Kingpin shares this comforting 'clunk' - thumbs up from me!
Feel - the Kingpin has a great 'feel' as a connection between boot and ski - less harsh perhaps than a regular pin binding.
Transitions - the transition from skin to ski mode and vice-versa is easy and quick.
Delta - without taking any measurements the Kingpin felt similar to the Plum Yak (ie very little delta between toe and heel heights) - in my book this is a good thing!
Risers - my one complaint - the risers have a very shiny surface finish which actually made it quite tricky to flip them on or off. This may have been due to the borrowed poles and the basket/handle materials, and like most things I am sure there is a knack to be found and once acquired changing riser will be easy, but this was an irritation for 2 days.
Weight (part 2) - the Kingpin weighs in at 650g per binding, 200g more than my current reference point Plum Yak but substantially lighter than the Dynafit Beast (955g).
Summary: Would I buy this binding? Yes - the Kingpin may well find its way into my garage, particularly on bigger skis where weight isn't absolutely critical. Will it replace the Plum Yak for me? I don't think so, but would need to spend more time on the Kingpin to cast a firm vote...