No matter what type of riding you’re doing, going out at night can be a challenge. Even if you have extremely good vision, darkness changes how we see everything. Having good lights on your bike helps, but that’s only half the battle. You also have to have them aimed correctly in order for them to properly illuminate your path.
What is ‘proper,’ anyway? It all depends on context. It’s going to be different for you if you’re riding street versus riding off-road. Most of the time, on the street, your bike stays fairly level.
You might go over some rough grooved surfaces occasionally, or bounce through other rough patches of paved roads, but it’s nothing like the bouncing your bike will endure when you ride off-road. Doing that type of riding requires additional consideration to make sure your field of vision is the best it can be in dark conditions.
Luckily, off-road instructor Bret Tkacs put together this concise video explanation of how best to set up your lights if you’re doing off-road night riding. Sometimes, you might find yourself out later than you expected, and his advice is to simply adapt to conditions and make the changes you need so you can see where you’re going. If you have a tool kit with you, this should be pretty easy to do at the side of the road or trail.
First, look at how your high beam is aimed. Then, assuming you have two accessory lights mounted on the front of your bike, aim one above the high beam, and one below, kind of like a light-beam sandwich. That will effectively extend your illuminated area to one that’s much broader than your headlight would be alone. It’s also a bit different than you may have had your accessory lights aimed for on-road riding, because you may be using them to amplify brightness in a single direction, rather than to broaden the area covered. Be sure to make any adjustments you deem necessary to keep your field of illumination as broad and complete as possible. Tighten everything up, and you should be good to go on your journey.