Bindings 2000: Marker

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Marker's line, more than any other company's, is a smorgasbord of technology. The top-of-the-line MRR, for example, is available as the MRR Turbo SC Racing, the MRR EPS3 Racing, and the MRR EPS Racing. In each configuration, the toepiece and heelpiece are the same, but the binding's performance features are different. The story is similar for most other models, and understanding the entire line takes some doing. Fortunately, there's not a ski shop on the planet that carries every one of Marker's almost 60 (if you factor in color choice) offerings.

Release Features: Marker has two toepieces¿Biometric and Biotech, both of which release upward. Biometric toes are said to go a step further by reducing the force required for release in backward-twisting falls. The Comshock Piston (CP) appears in race and high-performance models and purportedly allows for better retention without higher DIN settings. For heels the MRR models have Marker's updated but still classic turntable; the rest of the line has step-ins. Nearly all Markers use a stainless steel gliding AFD.

Passive Enhancers: Every binding that doesn't have SC has some sort of lifter. Marker's passive enhancers fall under the heading Edge Pressure System (EPS), available in two versions: EPS3 (12 mm) and standard EPS (5 mm). EPS3 lifters are sold separately for a modest $25¿a steal in the world of lifters.

Active Enhancers: Marker's SC (Selective Control) connects toepiece and heelpiece with a bridge that integrates a three-position switch that adjusts a ski's flex. It also functions as a lifter and dampening system and comes in two versions: standard SC and Turbo SC. The Turbo version is beefier; both are remarkably effective.

M9.1 Turbo SC Titanium
Adjustment Range 4-12
Marker's most advanced skier-interactive enhancement technology, Turbo SC, is only available on a couple of models¿and we want it. We like the M9.1 rather than the MRR version because we find the step-in heel more convenient than the turntable. The M9.1 Turbo SC has a slightly higher
Adjustment Range than we need, but since all of the Turbo SC models cost $395, why not? Plus, "titanium" sounds cool, and we get the complete Logic1 CP Biometric release package. $395

M7.1 SC
Adjustment Range 3-10
This is the entry-level for Selective Control in the Marker line. At $75 less than the top M9.1 models, it's still a pricey binding. But it has the full Logic1 CP Biometric toe package, less the Comshock piston, which most skiers can live without. The Selective Control feature is worth it, so just smile and pay up. $320

M7.1 EPS
Adjustment Range 3-10
If all our money's spent on skis, substituting Marker's EPS device for SC under the binding saves a ton. With this binding, we still get the hotdog Biometric package, which disappears if we go one step lower in Marker's line. At 85 bucks less than the M7.1 with Selective Control, this is a smart choice for the money. $235