UP is on here about the DIN setting factor.
an elaboration: a technically accomplished (by this i mean PSIA demo team, it's equivalent in other countries, and WC skiers) can twist out of a binding at the recommended setting (or most settings, for that matter - they just have to focus on it rather staying in control at super high speeds) simply by changing their weight distribution at any point in a turn. atomic man would agree with this. multiply this precision in technique with the ridiculous speeds the racers end up at, and it is clear that a common DIN setting won't suffice.
here comes my binding release thoughts related to this thread. sorry if i offend anyone. this is marker biased because the bindings are getting killed here without any theory getting thrown down (except for UP's last post).
The DIN torque test does not test real world conditions. kiwiski is right about this. It is done in a shop where a shop employee can literally get any binding to pass by "buttering" the torque tester. also, bindings rarely get tested for release when they are wet, dirty, and have a nice layer of gravel, ice, etc attached to the bottom. a non-moving, non-mechanical AFD (AFD stand for Anti-Friction Device) does not help this situation in the real world at all, as those foreign objects create more friction for the boot to overcome before initiating release movement. part of that buttering process can sure mean making sure that there are NO foreign objects between the boot and the binding.
the marker toe makes contact with the boot on the hard, solid, chassis on the bottom of the boot. this chassis transmits directional energy far better than the upper part of the boot where the wall thckness of the boot is very thin. so, when a marker releases, any lateral movement of the toe is transmitted to the toe of the binding and initiates release. with other brands, at a high DIN setting, the thin wall of the boot maybe compressed before the boot starts to move laterally. this precies transmission of power through the chassis is too efficient sometimes.
marker's bindings are some of the most technologically advanced in terms of release mechanisms - the biggest hit one can make against them at the end of the day when all is said and done and the dust settles is that they approach binding release from the idea that release is good, and that a skier who is in control and not applying damaging torque to their knee is over the middle of the ski. if you're off balance (not over the middle of the ski), there's a better chance you're going to fall (and need release), and on this premise the binding works. the binding is the most precise (hence the high rate of "pre-release").
on a similar note, it has been proven that after a certain shortish (can someone help me out here? i want to say 10-15mm) lateral travel of the toe, release is all but certain in ALL brands of bindings. this is because once the toe has travelled past a certain point, the amount of lateral inertia cannot be overcome by the binding. marker relies on a falling spring rate where initial retention is high (higher than any other binding out there, actually) and the farther out the binding moves laterally the lower the retention, and all other manufacturers (as far as i know) rely on an increasing spring rate. what this means is that the farther out your foot laterally moves, the more other bindings want to keep you in.
as UP racer has pointed out, many of the Marker technologies are appreciated at the top level of the skiing world - right now in europe, an awful lot of WC racers are trying to get on the new piston plate. there must be a reason for this. it's not a gimmick. i can go on with this. it sounds an awful like you have not taken the time to understand what the marker technologies do for every skier. does any other binding have a piston to control rebound? a marker comp 14.0 piston has two - one for the toe release mechanism that slows down high frequency, short duration movements (another culprit that does a good job of initiating pre-release), the other to control the rebound of the ski coming out of a turn.
if a skier is an expert, and buys lots of big skis and says how good they are and buys into that whole, then buck up on the binding too and get a comshock piston in the toe. too many people skimp on bindings as if they are an after thought to the purchase.
it's true that WC has very little bearing on most people and their perceptions of skiing. but here's an interesting fact: for years, Rossi race plates have had a forward -gliding toe to get more edge power to the front of the ski. this was not available in any of their consumer level product until either last year or this year (not sure). marker plates have been available with a gliding toe for two generations now for consumers. rossi must've come around or something cause now it's offered. this gliding toe can be viewed as the fore-runner of all systems - which help to let the shorter skis flex more independently of the binding(especially good when the binding is a proportionally sitting on more of the ski).
before one knocks all marker technology, when was the last time any other binding manufacturer completely overhauled their product line or offered new plates that actually increase the performance of the ski? there are some notable exceptions here, and people will say that marker had to change because the full spectrum toe was too sensitive. this is true. new plates do continue to become available from marker - who else has a new cosnumer plate out there?
i don't like this thread. as the dust settles (hopefully), we can all realize that some skiers like elastic travel and some prefer a binding with a more, shall we say, instantaneous release. yes, people get injured from pre-releases. but working in a shop, you hear alot more stories that go like this than ones where people got injured because of pre-release and not releasing (if you need a refresher, please refer to the back of any lift ticket that might be hanging around the house):
customer walks in and tells story about pre-releasing (JSA, brother to JRA).
shop emp asks: did you ski the rest of the day?
customer says yes, but it was a bummer to have spent 5 minutes looking for ski/retrieving ski/putting ski back on.
shop emp says: better than having spent the rest of the weekend on pain relievers at the hospital with a busted leg/knee/whatever.
shop should offer to test binding and recommend that the skier bump up a skier level if pre-release becomes a normal occurence.
bring on the hate mail.