REVIEW: Puig Manual Elevation Mechanism (M.E.M) for KTM 890 Adventure
In a nutshell...
Add adjustability to your stock or aftermarket windscreen where the manufacturer can't be arsed to provide it themselves.
- Quick and easy to fit
- Decent range of heights for different scenarios
- Less than ideal rigidity
- Locking mechanism isn’t suitable for bumpy roads
- Bumps cause the locking mechanism to fail over time
Bikers come in all shapes and sizes, so the ability to customise various aspects of your ergonomic experience seems like a no-brainer for any manufacturer. One of the most important areas for adjustability is of course the windscreen. Set it right and you glide through the air; set it wrong and your head and body are buffeted in all directions.
It’s therefore a bit of a head-scratcher that some manufacturers still fail to equip their long-distance models with fully adjustable screens. Case in point is the KTM 890 Adventure series (and its 790 predecessor). Adjustability on offer is limited to choosing one of two pre-set slots, then hoping that the choice is effective for you. Inevitably, it’s often not.
Spanish aftermarket parts manufacturer, Puig, has stepped in to address the issue on bikes like the KTM 890 Adventure (and Yamaha Tenéré) with the awkwardly-named 'Manual Elevation Mechanism', or M.E.M for short.
The Puig M.E.M. is effectively a mount which places your screen on a set of rails, allowing for vertical adjustment to suit the rider and riding conditions. The height is secured with two ‘locking’ levers, positioned on each side of the mount.
Puig’s idea for the M.E.M. is you can set it high for maximum protection on the motorway, and drop it to the lowest point when you’re on the trails and want maximum visibility. But the height can also be set to anywhere in between. Puig even suggest that you can leave the mechanism unlocked so that the screen rises ‘automatically’ to full height at high speed (due to air flow) and drops accordingly at low speed.
For the KTM, the M.E.M. is compatible with both the stock screen and with Puig’s own aftermarket replacements. In both cases, the screen sits in a more forward and upright position than the original fitting. Puig says this results in better airflow for the rider.
The Puig M.E.M. comes with all the hardware needed to fit it to your bike. Installation is straight-forward and can be completed with minimal tools in about 20 minutes. Puig could have easily designed the M.E.M. as a way to ‘encourage’ you to also purchase one of their screens, so it’s refreshing that they’ve made it compatible with the stock screen as well.
The full height range available covers different riding scenarios effectively. With the stock screen and the M.E.M. at full height, all but the tallest riders will be able to sit fully behind the screen. At the lowest end of the range, the height is almost the same as that of the small screen which comes as standard on the R version of the KTM 890 Adventure.
Adjustment of the screen is as simple as unlocking the two levers, setting the desired height, then putting the levers back into the lock position. This can easily be done with gloved hands, although Puig insists that the M.E.M. is not designed or intended to be operated when the bike is in motion.
What’s not so good
As with many motorcycle parts, there’s a compromise to be had when it comes to rigidity vs weight. The M.E.M. seems to favour the weight end of that argument. While it does a fair job of holding the screen securely, larger bumps will generate some wobble. And lots of bumps cause the screen to drop by itself over the course of the ride.
The way the M.E.M. reacts to bumps results in two problems. The first and less serious problem is caused by a touch of cheapskatery (or oversight) on the part of Puig. A central screw is used to secure the screen to the bottom part of the M.E.M. Instead of a suitable screw being included for this purpose, you need to reuse the OEM windscreen screw. Fine in theory, but the length of that screw results in it protruding quite a bit out of the back of the M.E.M. frame. Depending on the height you’ve set, this can be a problem. With the previously mentioned wobble, hitting a decent bump can result in the screw impacting the front fairing, causing damage in the process. The only way to prevent this from happening is to use a shorter screw or add some rubber washers. It would be much easier if Puig just supplied a screw with the correct length.
The more serious problem exists with the locking levers. These operate using friction applied to the rails which allow the screen to be raised or lowered. Over time, the friction mechanism gets distorted as the screen wobbles from bumps in the road. And the problem is of course turbo-charged when riding on rough trails or offroad. In the space of about 12 months, Lonely Road’s M.E.M. almost completely lost its ability to lock into position. Sadly, this has largely defeated the purpose of introducing adjustability in the first place.
Lastly, you’ll need to be careful if you’re looking to fit a headlight protector when the M.E.M. is installed. Due to the design, it’s incompatible with most aftermarket protectors, including Puig’s own. However, it is possible to use the KTM PowerParts protector with the M.E.M.
Other manufacturers, like Triumph and BMW, are able to equip their adventure bikes with adjustable screens. So it’s a bit of a mystery as to why the likes of KTM and Yamaha cannot. If the fixed adjustment points for your screen don’t provide the wind protection you’re looking for, then the Puig M.E.M. might be an option for you.
However, if you’re planning to ride offroad at any point, you should definitely get into the habit of putting the M.E.M. on its lowest setting and leaving it ‘unlocked’ before exiting the tarmac. Not doing so will quickly degrade the locking mechanism to the point it no longer functions effectively.
The Puig M.E.M. is available from Puig resellers worldwide to fit a selection of adventure and street bikes. The UK list price is between £100 - £150, depending on which bike you plan to fit it to.