Marker Duke EPF Review

The Duke EPF is a sturdy, easy-to-use binding that has excellent downhill performance at the cost of extra weight and some transitioning issues.

Quick Summary

  • Where to buy: Amazon, EVO
  • Best for: Primarily for resort skiers who want the ability to head out of bounds from time to time. Good for both rough and light conditions as well.
  • Pros: Incredibly durable. These bindings will last you a long time. They are also easy to use and step into. The downhill performance is exceptional, especially when considering the tough construction.
  • Cons: The bindings are a bit heavy. Transitioning is not as easy as with similar models. Lighter users might also have issues engaging the heel.
  • Alternatives: Marker Griffon 13 ID, Fritschi Freeride Pro, Salomon Guardian MNC 16

Why Trust Me

I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent ample time researching these bindings by analyzing their traits, testing their abilities, and talking to people who used them first hand.

Detailed Review

The Duke EPF is a reliable downhill binding that gives you superior performance when speeding down slopes. It’s not a great all-around choice, especially for people who want to skin uphill, but it does allow you to get out and tour if you so desire. The weight and pivot point hold it back from being a true off-piste option, but it works well for resort skiers who want the versatility or ability to get out every now and then.

Lacking Touring Performance

When it comes to going off-piste, these bindings don’t make the cut. They definitely do a good job in bounds, but there are a few features that make them lacking in this area. First, they are a bit on the heavy side. Having to lug around heavy bindings is a bit of bummer, especially for skiers who get fatigued easily. The pivot point is also poor and the transition is not easy. Those features mean these bindings won’t serve you well in touring situations.

Downhill Performance

While it’s not up to snuff in the uphill category, the Duke EPF does a great job for those that want high downhill performance. That’s mainly due to the rails which, while prone to icing, offer plenty of surface area and give you an excellent binding-to-ski/boot-to-binding condition. That setup means you’re going to be able to cruise with these on. True downhill skiers will absolutely love what they have to offer.

Another bonus here is the Duke EPF’s low height. At only 36mm, the binding manages to keep a low profile. This is another area where the extra weight comes into play, but it tends to help more than hinder your performance. Some skiers don’t like being able to feel some extra weight while heading down a run, but I don’t see that as a big deal with this model.

Usability

The Duke EPF gets extremely high marks for usability. Most skiers will be able to easily step into this binding, and that’s something every rider can appreciate. Where a lot of modern bindings choose to clutter everything up, these keep things lean and easy. The standout feature is the heel risers that flip down into position. All you have to do is stick your toe into the piece and slam your heel down. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

If there’s one small hiccup with this aspect it’s that lighter skiers will have trouble getting the heel to engage. That’s not a dealbreaker, and won’t be an issue for most who use the bindings, but it’s something to know. If you aren’t as heavy, you might want to consider other options more geared for those builds. The transitioning could also be a bit more streamlined.

Durability and Weight

As mentioned, these bindings are on the heavy side. Weighing in at six pounds, two ounces, the bindings are much more hefty than a lot of similar models. That comes with both pros and cons. It makes touring harder, but it also gives you extra power and control when moving downhill. That weight comes from the metal construction, which adds to the binding’s general durability.

The Duke EPF is one of the strongest bindings you’ll ever use. It’s tough in just about every area and can stand up to both heavy use and the elements. You’re going to get a lot of seasons out of these. In fact, you’ll likely have them forever if you don’t go out of your way to damage or harm them.

Price and Value

This binding is a solid item that, in my opinion, gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Not only does it come in at a more reasonable price than many other downhill-focused models, but the durability is exceptional. That means Marker gives you the ability to save some money and get a well-made product you know will give you many seasons of use. Couple that with the amazing performance and you have a winner in the value category.

What I Like

My favorite aspect of this binding is its durability. I put a lot of stock into construction when looking at ski gear. Most items, especially bindings, aren’t cheap. As such, when you shell out some serious money, you need to make sure you’re making a solid investment. The Duke EPF is exactly that. The metal construction is long-lasting and extremely damage resistant. That makes it a great choice for those who use their skis a lot or take them out in rough conditions.

I also am a big fan of the EPF’s general usability. Many bindings, while useful, simply have too much going on for what they offer. That makes them hard to use and diminishes their intended purpose. These have no such issue. Though lighter skiers may have trouble engaging the heel, they are extremely easy to step into when compared to other tech style bindings.

What I Dislike

My biggest issue with the Duke EPF is how poorly it does while touring. Even as a downhill-focused binding, it just can’t compete in that area with any similar options. The weight is a big contributor to that, as is the poor pivot point. The tough transition doesn’t help either. While you can tour with these bindings, they aren’t going to give you great results at any part of the way.

Something else I’m not a big fan of is the overall transition process. There’s no doubt that these bindings are easy to use overall, but you have to take your boot out of them to switch modes. That’s too much of a hassle for me, especially when so many other models are much more streamlined in that regard. You also need to use significant force to make the process happen. I wish it wouldn’t take as much work.

The Alternatives

The Duke EPF is a decent binding, but it does lack in certain areas. If you want other traits or are looking for something to shore up those gaps, look at these other choices:

  • Marker Griffon 13 ID – Another exceptional downhill binding, the Griffon 13 ID from Marker is a strong item with almost no downsides. It gives you ample energy transfer and has some of the best boot compatibility around. I especially like that it enables you to swap the brakes so you can always fit your specific ski.
  • Fritschi Freeride Pro – The Freeride Pro is a strong binding with an efficient pivot point that tours better than the Duke EPF. It’s a great choice for those who care about excellent power transfer. The free-gliding bar, which allows you to easily carve, is also a nice touch. The 12 DIN range gives you extra versatility too.
  • Salomon Guardian MNC 16 – If you like the EPF’s design but want something much better at getting you off the resort, the MNC 16 might be for you. This model enables you to easily switch between modes with just the flick of a switch and has a good DIN range. I’m also a big fan of the aluminum tubes that offer exceptional edge-to-edge control.

FAQ

How heavy is this binding?

It clocks in at a hefty six pounds, two ounces.

Are these bindings good for all conditions?

While the EPF’s strong construction enables them to hold up to all environments, they are not the best for off-piste excursions.

Will these last a long time?

Yes. The Duke EPF is an incredibly strong, well-made binding with a tight metal construction. You will be able to use it for many, many years without any wear or tear.

Final Verdict

When it comes to downhill performance, the Duke EPF absolutely excels. The bindings allow you to zip around to your heart’s content, even if they aren’t primed for touring or can’t serve as a true all-around option.

If you’re someone who spends almost all of their time in the resort and only goes out of bounds every now and then, these bindings will serve you well. If you want high versatility or a binding that provides options, you might want to look somewhere else.

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