Could the new Marker Tour alpine-touring ski bindings really be the Fritschi-killer? It’s possible, yes indeed, but probable? Well, with Marker’s undeniably-huge market perception and the wild success of the Duke platform, there’s no way anyone at Fritschi can take this one sitting down.
Introducing the new Marker Tour alpine touring ski bindings that will be coming to ski shops near you, Fall 2010. Looking it over, the toepiece looks very similar, but better optimized for touring instead of stomping 50-footers. Other similarities exist between the tour and the Royal Family, but I’m sure materials completely differ, but at least the looks of them appear pretty similar.
I’m seeing some improvements in the heelpiece to reduce weight as well as a more adjustable climbing bar (definitely needed). What remains that is still a bit of a hassle is the requirement to click out of your bindings to switch between ski and tour modes. As well as the climbing bar, which seems difficult to adjust on-the-fly with a pole tip (since I haven’t seen them, this may not be the case, but it looks as such). Fritschi still hs ’em beat there.
But, the respectable fighting weight of 1690 grams (FT10) puts them a few hundred grams less than the Fritschi Freeride bindings. Expect these to hit the stores in the Fall… very impressive, Marker!
What Marker says about the Tour F10 and F12:
Focusing on producing the right binding for the end use that each skier needs has always been the Marker way. For the new Marker Tour bindings, our engineers set out to offer a binding for the skier who wants an all-day touring rig, but still wants great skiing performance. To date, in order to have light weight for climbing, the skier had to give up downhill skiing performance. Not any more. Built based on a 76mm minimum ski width, the innovative Marker Tour 12 and and Tour 10 bindings feature new, lighter weight Triple Pivot Compact toe, and Hollow Linkage heel components.
The new toe and heel sit atop a smooth-flexing frame design which features a new, glove-friendly release lever that puts the binding in touring mode. The gliding afd in the new toe is height adjustable, and designed specifically for AT boot soles, while also compatible with alpine boots. A weight-saving ‘hollow’ axle forms the pivot point in the heel. Its design is light weight, compact, and easy to step into, while the spring focuses energy directly toward the heel of the boot for optimum skiing performance. Weight for the Tour 10 is approximately 1690 grams/pair. Stand height is 34mm for the Tour 10 and Tour 12.
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I dunno. Still have to be out to switch modes. And they have a tough time matching the Fritschi heel elevator. I think there is fairly wide agreement that it’s one of, if not *the*, best on the market.
Not to mention various durability/quirky issues folks on TGR are reporting with Dukes/Barons. Seem more widespread than with Freerides (at least now that they’ve fixed the “Instatele” issue).
New Diamir Pro coming out too. I’d imagine you’ve seen it, no?
All valid points. The whole take your boot out to switch modes is kind of annoying at best. The thing about Marker is they have such huge distribution that these will undoubtedly catch on.
Yes, I did see the new Fritschi at the Black Diamond booth. That thing is burly and sports the improved pivot from the Eagle platform. It’s not any lighter though, but burly indeed. Probably need to post some pics of that binder too. Been pretty swamped post-OR and such. Thanks, as always, for your comment.
No prob J. Your blog is on my regular reading list. 🙂
I’m coming from a tele (and nordic racing before that) background, so being able to switch back and forth between modes on the fly is something I really appreciate. With my old O1s, I could switch them into tele mode for long rolling approaches or exits and diagonal stride/skate faster than friends on AT. Something I miss with AT gear (I have Dyanfits and Dukes).
Yeah… skating on AT gear… that I’d have to see. Nordic racing eh? I need to get into skate skiing one of these days. I’ve only done classic and it’s been years since I’ve done that even. We used to nordic ski at Paradise on Mt. Rainier as a kid 2-3 times a year.
Skating is fantastic. Awesome workout.
We moved up to the Sierra Foothills from Orange County when I was in high school. I took up nordic to keep my fitness level up between XC in the fall and track in the spring. I know you’re a runner, so I’m pretty sure you’d take to it like a duck to water.
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until they move the tour mode “lever” out from under foot, this design is fundamentally flawed in my opinion…
Having to take my boots off for changing mode is not a big deal but (if its like the Duke) the fore-aft slop that will arise from that construction is a major issue.
@Bryan… I agree with JL in that it’s not a deal-breaker. I’m trying to think of the amount of times I switch from tour to ski mode in my Fritschi’s without taking my boots off and it’s not very often.
@JL… have you had some of your Duke’s develop slop? Is it in the track mechanism while skiing or in the pivot while touring?
The fore-aft slop develops in the lever hinge, so the whole binding can move fore-aft in the track. Yes I got it on my Dukes and there seems to be more people having that issue according to posts on TGR.
Interesting, JL. I only used my Baron’s for a day, then swapped out the binders and they’ve sat for a few months. I’m hoping to get more use out of them and will see if that same thing happens.
definitely not the first tour bindings of marker 🙂
Ahh yes, the Marker Mousetrap. Did people actually ski on those back in the day? 🙂
Jason, any idea if you can get a wide enough brake for the F10 to run them on Gotamas (105 under foot)? And I presume you can adjust the heel riser easily on the fly? I’m about to order a pair of Gotamas was hoping to put Tour F10’s on them.
I’m sure they will make wide enough brakes for a 105mm waist ski. That’s pretty narrow, all things considered. As far as adjusting the riser on-the-fly, I’d assume so but you can’t switch to and from tour/ski modes without releasing your boots from the binders.
They look like a solid system that will shave much-needed weight from the Duke/Baron system.
I was looking at these due to toe release. Are they better in that department? Or am I being picky. I have a new knee so i want to keep it safe and keep the other ok too. I have an old pair of fritchies and I blew the knee out last year skiing a little too fast in the trees in waist deep. Didnt fall or hit anything just heard a pop and said crap. Thoughts??
Mark… since I have yet to see these in person, I can’t say for sure. But, I’ll say this. Marker’s toepieces have historically been some of the “safest”. Though “safe” is a relative term since early-releasing isn’t “safe” under some circumstances where elasticity is preferred.
Hard to say what could have happened, but the Marker toepiece typically doesn’t have much elasticity, but instead will release.
I just purchased the Marker Tour F12 for my new ObSETHed skis. After the purchase my wife was reading the manual and it says that the Baron and Duke are not recommended for AT boots. I checked in with several Salt Lake City backcountry stores regarding the differences between the Tour, Baron and Duke but no one explained this important fact to me.
I hope this will save somebody’s knees.
Tucker… I’m very surprised that it says AT boots are not recommended with the Baron/Duke. The toe height adjustment is made to accommodate rockered AT boot soles, isn’t it? I used my Dynafit Titan’s with my Baron’s no problem… just adjusted the toe height and I was golden. But, I guess the lawyers must have made them put that in there for some reason.
The Tour has a very similar toe height system to accommodate both rockered AT and standard DIN soles… I wonder what’s different?
I think the difference on AT boot specific bindings is that the toe plate slides from side to side to aid toe release with sticky Vibram soles – although actually on cold snow the rubber goes pretty hard…
Has anyone heard of the F10’s cracking during a “knee forward” fall in tour mode? I was recently visiting my good buddy Mikey at Mammoth Mountaineering and he told me about a kid who bought the F10 and did a face plant while skinning only to get back to his feet and realize a design flaw had caused the front mounting plate to crack completely on one ski! He was not able to skin back to the car. Thoughts? Comments?
I was touring in the F12s yesterday and this just happened. I fell as a result of the break rather than breaking them as a result of a fall (with my knee forward. In a single season this will be the second pair of Marker Tours I have broken. When a binding makes me ask what happened to my old Naxo’s you know it has a great deal of design flaws.
I tour/ski about 25-40 hours a week and have never had so many problems until I mounted the Marker Tour F12’s. They’re too light to handle spring snow as was demonstrated to me yesterday and they wear out in the toe piece very easily. Previously both of my bindings were replaced due to the “tour friendly” toe portion developing a vertical rotation due to cheap ass plastic wear out… I’d lose a ski on every kick turn by their demise.
Far from a freeride safe binding, far from durable, far from flawless. Stay away from these bindings.
Thanks for the first-hand report, Nick. Sorry to hear about your experience. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a pair for quite some time, but have yet to use them.
Frankly, my next touring bindings will definitely be Tech bindings for a dedicated touring setup.
hey mate, if not tour or not marker at all, which bindings? would you reccommend the fritschi free rides? I don’t want to buy new boots either so i cant use the pincer toe connection like the g3’s etc…..
The Fritschi’s design is bombproof and predictable both inbounds and in the backcountry. If you want to use your existing boots, you can’t go wrong there.
My friend just went for a tour with me yesterday with a brand new pair of F12’s.
We were negotiating some tricky terrain in “tour” mode, he slipped and the tour toe piece broke clean away. Luckily he was able to clip into normal ski mode and make it down.
I cannot recommend them…
I bought the F12s in January, and have taken them back to the shop twice for broken plastic. Both breaks happened while skinning steep terrain, doing a kick-turn, and snap…..Both breaks were in a completely different place, too. At least they worked in “ski” mode after the breaks. Doesn’t exactly give me confidence for longer tours/multi-day trips.
I bought the F12 this season. I used them twice in bounds and they were great. I used them for an avy course recently, also the first time I had used them in tour mode. I was kneeling beside my skis with boots in bindings and the toe piece broke right off. Very disappointed in the design. I hope this issue can be resolved. What was really disappointing was I hadn’t had a bad crash or anything to warrant the failure. Until marker fixes this issue I wouldn’t recommend this binding to anyone