On Test | The 2022 Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay introduces a brand new motor & bigger battery

Four years ago, Rocky Mountain unveiled its first e-Bike, the Altitude Powerplay, and followed up a year later with the Instinct Powerplay and Growler Powerplay. Instead of building a bike around an off the shelf e-Bike system, the Canadian brand developed its own. Given the role the motor itself plays in the ride characteristics of an e-MTB, this was a bold move.

Relying on an electro-mechanical torque sensor to measure chain tension, the motor was quick to react when you got on the pedals and has impressive figures when it comes to peak torque and assistance. In our experience aboard the previous version, you had to pedal a little harder than a Bosh or Shimano e-Bike suite, but there was plenty of support on offer.

For 2022, Rocky Mountain has updated the Dyname drive system and the Altitude and Instinct frames built around it.

Watch our video review of the 2022 Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay here: 

rocky mountain altitude powerplay emtb electric
The new Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay has arrived for 2022!

The new 2022 Altitude Powerplay

Serving as the brand’s enduro platform, the Altitude sees 160mm of rear travel, and a 170mm fork. The beauty of the Dyname e-Bike system is that it uses a standard bottom bracket and crankset, and because of this it doesn’t require as many compromises to the geometry. As such, the Altitude Powerplay is basically identical to the regular Altitude when it comes to the geometry.

rocky mountain altitude powerplay emtb electric
Rocky Mountain uses its own motor for the Altitude Powerplay, which allows for very short chainstays.

This is most noticeable in chainstays, which measure 437mm — with the chainstay flip-chip in the short position. The Polygon Mt Bromo and Canyon Spectral:ON are both a hair shorter at 435mm, but use non-traditional chainstays or a mullet wheel to achieve a compact rear end. Rocky has pulled this feat off with no tomfoolery and clearance for a 29×2.6in tyre.

For 2022, the new Altitude has ditched the size-specific wheels and gone full 29-er across the range, and swapped Ride-9 for the simpler four-position Ride-4 flip-chip. In the neutral position, the head angle is 0.4-degrees slacker, the seat tube is .5-degrees steeper, and the reach of a size medium frame has jumped up by 6mm.

Rocky Mountain Altitude

Available in both Carbon and Alloy frames, Rocky claims the Altitude Powerplay Carbon 70 weighs 23.53kg in a size large. Rocky is offering the frame in sizes SM-XL.

The new 2022 Instinct Powerplay

The Instinct Powerplay is Rocky’s Trail/All Mountain platform with 140mm of rear travel, paired with a 150mm fork. Like the longer travel Altitude, it gets the new motor and Ride-4 chip.

Rocky Mountain Instinct
The Instinct Powerplay uses exactly the same frame and motor, albeit with a shorter 150mm travel fork and a smaller shock to bring rear travel down to 140mm.

The analogue Instinct and Altitude are based around the exact same frame, but thanks to the replaceable front shock mount, the rear travel can be changed — and by proxy the geometry. Rocky Mountain has confirmed this is also the case with the carbon Powerplay models, simply swap out the shock mount, bolt in a longer shock, and viola, you have yourself and Altitude. The alloy frames too are based around the same platform but don’t receive the modular shock mount.

Rocky Monuntain Instinct

Compared to its predecessor, the head angle is 0.4-degrees slacker, the seat tube is 0.6-degrees steeper, and the reach of a size medium frame increased by 7mm. Same as the Altitude, the Instinct Powerplay rolls exclusively on 29in wheels and is available in alloy and carbon versions.

Rocky doesn’t list a claimed weight for the 2022 Instinct, but we’d venture a guess that it’s pretty darn close to the 23.53kg figure quoted above. The Instinct Powerplay will be available in sizes from SM-XL.

Dyname 4.0

One of the main selling points of the Dyname system was that it used a standard crankset and bottom bracket, and all the wear components are parts that could be found in any bike shop.

rocky mountain altitude powerplay emtb electric
The new Dyname 4.0 motor has a rated peak torque output of 108Nm. On paper at least, that sees it offering substantially more grunt than the motors from Shimano, Bosch and Brose.

The updated version has the same power output and 108Nm peak torque, but now comes in a smaller package, claimed to be 18.5-per cent lighter. Rocky also tells us that Dyname 4.0 is quieter, with the upper chain slider removed to reduce mechanical noise. The motor also spins at a lower RPM to reduce the trademark e-Bike whine.

New for 2022 is the Jumbotron top tube display and a smaller, more ergonomic bar-mounted remote. The Jumbotron will present key information like speed, battery life, boost mode, and optimal cadence to get the best performance out of the motor.

Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay & Altitude Powerplay
The top tube mounted Jumbotron display is more or less the brains of the operation and is controlled by a bar-mounted remote.

Together, these new features can be used to tune the four assist modes and customise the boost level — which adjusts the torque-sensitivity, and how the bike reacts to pedalling input — and the output power — or the percentage of the available motor output power.

Rocky Mountain has also added a bigger 720Wh battery, that is now removable and can be charged off the bike. The brand claims its new 4A charger can take the battery from flat to full in 3hours and 55min, while the 2A charger needs 7hours and 35min for a full charge.

If 720Wh isn’t enough for your big backcountry epics, Rocky Mountain also has an add-on 350Wh battery called the Overtime pack that mounts to the bottle cage bolts.

Interestingly, the Canadian outfit makes no claims about range or ride time.

Suspension kinematics and wheel path

With the new motor taking up less space in the frame, Rocky has rejigged the pivot layout on the Altitude and Instinct Powerplay. The new bikes use a mid-high main pivot layout which allows for a more rearward axle path, and the kinematics have been tuned to provide more pedalling support.

Rocky Mountain Instinct suspension kinematics
The Altitude has a slightly less progressive suspension rate (40.5%) than the Instinct shown here, and slightly more anti-squat.

The carbon models of the new Powerplay come with a modular front shock mount that will allow riders to tailor the amount of rear-wheel travel.

Rocky also does custom shock tunes based on frame size to ensure riders of all sizes get the most out of their suspension.

rocky mountain altitude powerplay emtb electric
The lower shock eyelet features the Ride-4 geometry adjustment system.

Ride-4 adjustment

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of these new frames, let’s take a look at Rocky Mountain’s flip-chip arrangement. Both the Altitude and Instinct get the Ride-4 adjustment system, which allows riders to fine-tune geometry and suspension kinematics with a rotating, four-position square chip at the shock bolt. The previous Powerplays see the Ride-9 adjustment system, which uses dual interlocking chips to adjust the geometry and kinematics. With double the available chip positions, it can be a bit intimidating to mess with, Ride-4 is a bit simpler and more streamlined.

Each bike also gets Rocky Mountain’s dual position axle at the back, which allows riders to customise chainstay length by 10mm to further tailor handling characteristics.

2022 Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay & Instinct Powerplay prices and specs

We’ll see five models of the Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay and four of the Instinct Powerplay arriving here in Australia for 2022, with prices starting at $8,499 AUD and topping out at $18,499 AUD.

And how does the new platform ride? We’ve been testing one to find out, and you can check out our Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C70 review for all the juicy details. Otherwise read on for all the specs and pricing for the full lineup below.

rocky mountain altitude powerplay c90
The top-end Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C90 gets Fox Factory components, including a DHX2 coil shock.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C90

rocky mountain altitude powerplay carbon 70
Our test bike sits one step down – it’s the Altitude Powerplay C70.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C70

rocky mountain altitude powerplay emtb a70
The A70 is the highest spec option with an alloy frame.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay A70

rocky mountain altitude powerplay a50
The Altitude Powerplay A50 is equipped with a RockShox Zeb fork and a Fox Float X shock.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay A50

rocky mountain altitude powerplay 30 coil emtb
The entry-point into the Altitude Powerplay lineup is the A30, which features a Shimano 11-speed drivetrain and 4-piston brakes.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay A30

rocky mountain instinct powerplay emtb c90
The blingiest bike of the lot – the Instinct Powerplay C90 features a Shimano XTR groupset and carbon Race Face wheels.

Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay C90

  • Frame | Smoothwall Carbon, Mid-High Pivot Smoothlink Suspension Design, 140mm Travel
  • Fork | Fox 36, Factory Series, GRIP2 Damper, 150mm Travel
  • Shock | Fox Float X, Factory Series, 210x55mm
  • Motor | Dyname 4.0, 108Nm Peak Torque
  • Battery | 720Wh
  • Hubs | Rocky Mountain Front & DT Swiss Hybrid 350 Rear
  • Rims | Race Face ARC Carbon
  • Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHR EXO+ 3C MaxxTerra 2.5in Front & Minion DHR II EXO+ 3C MaxxTerra 2.4in Rear
  • Drivetrain | Shimano XTR 1×12 w/Next R 34T Carbon Crankset & 10-51T XTR Cassette
  • Brakes | Shimano XTR 4-Piston w/203mm Rotors
  • Handlebar | Race Face Next R Carbon, 20mm Rise, 780mm Width
  • Stem | Rocky Mountain 35 CNC, 40mm Length
  • Grips | ODI Elite Pro Lock On
  • Dropper | Fox Transfer Factory Series, 30.9mm Diameter, Travel: 125mm (S), 150mm (M), 175mm (L), 200mm (XL)
  • Saddle | WTB Volt Race 142
  • Price | $18,499 AUD
rocky mountain instinct powerplay emtb carbon 70
The Instinct Powerplay C70 brings the price down significantly thanks to the use of Shimano XT components and Fox Performance Series suspension.

Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay C70

rocky mountain instinct powerplay emtb a70
Featuring a RockShox Pike fork and Deluxe shock, the Instinct Powerplay A70 is the highest spec option with an alloy frame.

Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay A70

rocky mountain instinct powerplay alloy 50 emtb
Edging underneath the $10K mark is the Instinct Powerplay A50.

Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay A50

Using the same Dyname 4.0 motor and 720Wh battery as its pricier siblings, the Instinct Powerplay A30 is the cheapest option in the range.

Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay A30

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