How To Adjust Motorcycle Mirrors

How To Adjust Motorcycle Mirrors?


February 19, 2022

Of all the gadgets and gizmos on a motorcycle, it’s probably fair to say that none get as much attention from riders as their mirrors.

That’s because, barring any other paraphernalia attached to the handlebars (GPS units, for example), you use your mirrors almost every time you ride.

They’re also one of the most frequently broken parts on a motorcycle – no doubt due in part to many of them being very cheaply constructed and typically made out of flimsy materials like plastic and thin metal (which is why they often become deformed or break off).

Unfortunately, few people really understand how they work or what makes some better than others. So, let’s take an in-depth look at the different types of mirrors, how they work and why you should (or shouldn’t) buy them.

Adjusting motorcycle mirrors is a very important step in successful lane splitting or filtering. It allows motorcyclist to see their surroundings without taking their eyes off the road.

It also allows you to see cars coming up behind you when in a safe position, rather than just relying on hearing them. If you are filtering, the mirror is your best friend!

If adjusting motorcycle mirrors sounds daunting, don’t worry! It’s really simple and will start to feel natural after just a few tries. It’s also very important that you adjust your mirrors correctly, so read this guide first!

Benefits of Mirrors

How To Adjust Motorcycle Mirrors
  • The most important part of a motorcycle mirror is its ability to provide a clear image of what’s behind you without any distortion or vibration. For that, you need either a convex mirror or a dual-mirror setup – where one mirror acts as a convex lens with a second flat mirror facing outward at a 45-degree angle to reflect outboard images into the primary lens.
  • Convex mirrors have been around for decades and were originally used on automobiles until manufacturers transitioned to smaller side-view mirrors attached directly to each door. Although more difficult to design, engineers can create more compact convex mirrors than ever before by using special, lightweight materials like Magnesium Oxide.
  • The downside to these small convex mirrors is that they can give riders a “fish-eye” view of what’s behind them – where objects are significantly wider than they are tall. It’s also difficult for motorcycle-specific models to offer a completely clear and distortion-free view, as the mirror head itself typically sits very close to the rider – which decreases its effective field of vision.

Mirror Placement

First, you want to make sure that the adjustment screws on the mirror are somewhere near the middle of the “arc” of their adjustment. Otherwise, you will end up with a mirror that doesn’t quite give a full picture of what is behind you.

Next, adjust the mirror so that you can see behind you while sitting straight up in your seat with both feet on the ground.

If the mirror is adjusted too high, it will be pointing into your armpits and not at what’s behind you. If it’s adjusted too low, you will only see your helmet and not much else. So make sure it’s somewhere in the middle!

After that, you want to tilt your head slightly to the side while looking in the mirror. When you do this, you will be able to see behind you much more clearly, and if someone is occupying your entire mirror, they will be very apparent.

The Goal: Do not take your eyes off the road for more than a couple of seconds while riding, unless stopping completely. Reading signs, road markers, and adjusting your mirror all takes time that is better spent looking at where you are going.

Quick List Of Tips To Remember

How To Adjust Motorcycle Mirrors
  • Make sure your mirror is adjusted properly before riding off, or you are wasting your time.
  • Before checking behind you with the mirror, make sure you are looking in the left lane to see if it’s clear. Look for brake lights or turn signals of cars turning off of the road you are planning to split, and do not rely on just following your instinct, because it could get you into trouble.
  • Just like everything else on a motorcycle, keep your head moving while checking behind you in your mirror! You can’t check behind you while keeping your head completely still. This will look very awkward but is necessary so that you can see more than just what is directly behind you.
  • Pay attention to the cars on either side of you when accordingly. If they are slowing down or making erratic movements, be careful! Adjust your position on the road accordingly by either splitting lanes further over, or hanging back more if they are not in your immediate area.

Good luck, riders! Check back soon for more articles on motorcycle safety and riding tips. Remember to sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of our page in order to get notified when we post new articles! Have a great day.

An Overview of Dual Mirrors

An Overview of Dual Mirrors

Dual mirrors (often referred to as “clip-on” style) were originally developed for aerodynamic purposes by F1 race car designers and provide better all-around visibility because one mirror faces vertically while another faces outboard at a 45-degree angle.

This setup gives you an unobstructed front, rear and side view, which is especially helpful when lane splitting or filtering through traffic.

The downside with these mirrors is that they require a mounting apparatus to attach them to the handlebars and sometimes even an additional mirror head, which can make them bulky and interfere with your turning radius.

However, at least one manufacturer (Louise Harris from Tasmania, Australia) has recently come out with a quick-release system that makes exchanging clip-on styles for different bikes much easier – as it only requires you to detach two bolts on each mirror instead of three.

Final Verdict

There are also some aftermarket options available if you choose not to go clip-on style for whatever reason – like Biker Pro’s U-Model Mirrors or Harley Davidson’s Strap-On Mirrors.

These are similar to the original, automotive-style convex mirrors but use rubber straps to hold them in place instead of clips.

However, they tend to vibrate and shake a lot (which can be annoying and gives you a distorted view at times), and since they don’t attach directly to your handlebars, you need to stick some sort of pad or spacer between them and the frame to make up for the added distance – which means less stability.


Jeffrey Bryce is an experienced motorcycle rider with years of experience caring for motorcycles. His natural fondness for motorcycles have made him come up with, which is dedicated to answering and teaching you how to care for your bike with the care it requires. LetsGoForARide is the one of his important lifework in reaching out to communities of motorcycle enthusiasts on how to take care of their bike and choosing the correct spare part.