I’ve been twisting and tweaking my headlights ever since I got my Strada and have never been too happy with the results. This week I decided to assert my superiority over them until they submitted to my stupid, terrible will. Beware! If you intend to grapple to the death with your headlights, watch out for their buddies the chain rings – they bite!
The first step is to line up your velomobile in front of, and perpendicular, to your closed garage door. (ooh, big word for a neanderthal!) Now adjust your velomobile’s position until the front wheels are about eight feet from the door. That’s two and a half meters for you more evolved types. Find some tape and turn on your headlight. Mark the top of the headlight beam on your garage door…
Then mark the floor just where the center of the tire makes contact…
Now we will have some “repeat-ability” and an idea of what kind of changes we will be making. (Add scientific head-bob here)
Now, flip the velomobile on its side, reach in from the foot holes and unplug the light. If the horn is attached to the same strut, unplug that too.
This is where I went wrong in my previous attempts – I tried to wrestle and tweak the light into submission while it was still inside the velomobile. Bad idea! So undo that screw on the right and remove the whole thing. Easy! Here’s what it looks like…
Note the angle of the light compared to the strut so you can picture what sort of change you wish to make.
Also, sight along the strut to make sure that the light is pretty much parallel to the strut – you don’t want it illuminating the sidewalk! If not, remove the light, and bend that bit of strut where the light was attached until it is parallel to the longest part of the strut. Reattach the headlight, and adjust its angle until it matches the angle you pictured in your head earlier.
At this point, I added a couple wraps of electrical tape on the edges of the headlight lens to reduce friction. And squeaking!
Now put it back into the velomobile pushing hard enough to seat it in its hole without changing the light’s angle, and screw the strut to the frame. Reattach the plug to the headlight but leave the horn disconnected for now.
Flip the velomobile upright again and align the front wheel with your tape on the floor. Turn on the power and check out the effect of your adjustments on the garage door. If the results are about what you were aiming for (and it’s dark outside) then it’s time for a test drive. If not, flip it onto its side and try again. (Unless you’re waiting for dark). Repeat until you reach nirvana.
Then don’t forget to reconnect the horn!
My Strada has a high-beam headlight whose strut is attached to the other side of the interior frame. To adjust it I had to flip the velomobile over on its other side and repeat the whole procedure.
The final measurements (tape to floor) for my Strada’s lights were…
High-beam – 20 3/4 inches
Low-beam – 16 inches
Yeah, go ahead and tape to these measurements at the very beginning if you trust me (ha!), but then you’ll miss all the fun of fiddling with the tape. Your results may vary depending on your model and preferences so do the test drive and judge for yourself.
Remove the tape from your garage door and floor when you’re done – unless of course you want to keep them as a record of your special achievement. I did!