Marker, the choice among many elite racers, is the Mercedes of bindings, employing some of the most sophisticated engineering and tooling in the world. The Logic 1, introduced in 1997-98, is improved this year. It features an upward release system, a Comstock piston for shock absorption, vibration filters, gliding anti-friction devices and mechanical toe cups that are unaffected by negative friction of all kinds (including dirty or worn boot soles), lifts, and of course Marker's famous three-setting, dial-a-different-ski Selective Control System.
Marker elected to show SKI only three bindings from its vast line, but chose to have each tested on both shaped and conventional race skis, where they worked equally well, displaying comfort and impressive versatility.
M9.1 Racing $330
Marker considers this its "basic, baseline unit." It has an unconnected toe and heel and is recommended for Aspiring Carvers through All-Mountain Cruisers. Because it offers only 6 mm of lift, All-Mountain Experts and Racers might mount the M9.1 Racing with a Marker EPS 3 lifter or a floater plate like an EPB (see sidebar).
Both conventional and shaped skis want to drift a bit with this vanilla setup, minus lift. Short turns are easy, but you must reach to find a carving edge. Perfect for skiers who like to pivot and skid, the M9.1 Racing is also ideal for those skiers who log lots of miles in bumps and soft snow.
M9.1 EPS 3 Racing $330
Markers are "vertically integrated" to the extent that the company's most expensive models have the most bells and whistles. The M9.1 EPS 3 Racing has a less expensive composite connecting bar than the M9.1 Racing with Turbo SC, and a honeycombed plate that provides 12 mm of incremental lift, but it does not offer Selective Control.
This is a great bargain for Aspiring Carvers and perhaps Freeriders, but it pales in comparison to the Turbo SC. You feel every ripple and rut in this rougher ride, whether you're on a shaped or conventional ski. All-Mountain Cruisers especially may feel tense in the legs as they deal with extra feedback from the snow.
M9.1 Racing with Turbo SC $395
Skiing the Turbo is like listening to a fine stereo after hearing a ghetto blaster. All harshness is gone as the binding filters out jolts, jars and jitters. The piston smooths the ride, a connecting bar supplies stability under foot, and a carefully calculated screw pattern assists with shock absorption.
The Selective Control system is now even better in the No. 1 "Powder" position, making the shaped ski feel freer, floatier and looser than before (though it isolates the driver somewhat from the longer forebody on the race ski). The No. 2 position makes both skis feel natural and solid, while the No. 3 "Ice" position adds tremendous edging and tail-holding power, especially on conventional skis.
The Turbo SC may be the premier binding system for All-Mountain Cruisers, All-Mountain Experts and Racers in terms of overall flexibility, fatigue reduction and leg-muscle relaxation. This model spoils you.