The Lambda / Grip King pedal is a Rivendell design made by MKS in Japan out of aluminum alloy. Surprisingly lightweight for its size (about 420 grams/pair) and offering a large, supportive platform (5″ x 3″), the Lambda has become popular with commuters and tourers, alike. Standard .125-inch ball bearings makes them easy to service and, so far, they spin very smoothly.
I picked up a pair a few months ago for my whatever bike, on which I generally ride between two and 10 miles at a time. The Lambdas replaced the bike’s original, 1991-vintage mountain bike pedals with toe clips.
Pedal preferences are influenced by the type of shoes you wear, and I wanted something non-specific that would be comfortable in boots, flip flops, trail runners or even dress shoes. When I decide to pop out for a quick errand, I prefer to just hop on the bike in whatever footwear is closest to the front door. That is the perfect use for the Lambdas and is what they are best at—everyday cycling.
If, like me, you are used to riding mountain bike-specific flat pedals with mountain-bike specific shoes that, when paired, offer a vice-like grip, then the Lambdas won’t seem all that grabby. Without sharp pins or pointy teeth, they lack an exacting bite and are slippery when wet. (Rivendell sells a $12 set of pedal spikes that you can add. You need to drill the holes and the spikes should self-tap. I might add them in the winter when I’m riding in heavy-soled boots that don’t allow for much pedal feel.)
However, that’s part of why I like them. The Lambdas won’t tear up casual shoes; my foot can easily adjust its position as I cruise around; and I will not be adding to the pedal-pin scar collection on my calves. Lambdas are ideal for mashing about town and don’t require your foot to hunt for that perfect spot. Standing to climb on them feels fantastic, even in soft sandals, thanks to the pedal’s length.
I like that the Lambdas offer a larger pedaling platform without appearing ridiculously massive, but the lack of side bulk means people with extra-wide feet might not find the Lambdas to be as supportive as I do (my shoe size is an EU 40). One selling point is that the concave sides offer more cornering clearance. I, for one, am not regularly railing my commuter, but that very well could be your thing.
Aesthetically, the battle-axe-meets-cheese-grater look of these pedals falls into the love-em-or-hate-em category. To be honest, I chose them in part for their quirky appearance. The recessed reflectors are a plus, too. I’ve always thought those things to be ugly but useful. On the Lambdas, I can know the reflectors are there without having to see them protruding garishly.
The MKS Lambda / Rivendell Grip King is a great step-up from the small-platform stock pedals on your old bike, especially if you’re not interested in committing to a specific shoe-pedal combo. They will not accept toe clips, but some riders add PowerGrip straps.
Price: Depends. Currently $37.99 from Tree Fort Bikes; $56 direct from Rivendell