The Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay has been on the market for several years now and does things differently to most eMTBs. The Canadian brand developed its own powerful, tunable motor and combines aggressive geometry with looks inspired by non-motorised mountain bikes. Read on to find out how the Canadian concept performs on the trail.

Before we get into the review, we would like to tell you about our latest print edition. The E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition 2020 is our third annual edition and ultimate test bible, with which we aim to help you choose the perfect eMTB. More than 250 pages of extensive buyers advice, tons of eMTB know-how as well as reviews of the 35 most exciting eMTBs and the 7 best motors. You’ll also find many helpful tips and a guide to the most exciting eMTB trends – all of this is wrapped in a high quality print format. Click here for more information or order it directly in our shop!

Click here for an overview of the best eMTB 2020 group test.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition | Dyname 3.0 Drive/672 Wh | 160/150 mm (f/r) | 22.72 kg (size L) | € 9,000 | manfacturer website

At the heart of the Altitude Powerplay is the Dyname 3.0 motor that Rocky Mountain developed in conjunction with Propulsion Power Cycle. The peculiarity here is that the motor isn’t directly connected to the cranks. Instead it drives the chain directly which unfortunately requires a series of chain tensioners that make the whole mechanism a lot louder. Rocky Mountain have developed a new slider which is claimed to reduce noise and can also be retrofitted to older models. While it makes the Altitude Powerplay a bit quieter, it still sounds like you’re being driven by a coffee grinder. The sleek 672 Wh battery is firmly integrated into the down tube, allowing Rocky Mountain to keep the design of the bike nice and slender. Together with the matching Rocky Mountain team colours, it’s a good looking bike. However, the plastic cover for the motor, the cable clutter at the cockpit and the careless cable routing on the rear triangle somewhat dampen the impression.

Components, weight and technical details of the Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition

The 160 mm travel FOX 36 GRIP2 fork and the FOX FLOAT X2 shock offering 150 mm travel leave nothing to be desired. The model we tested came with a MAXXIS Minion/Aggressor tire combo with the light EXO carcass. However, in future Rocky Mountain will spec the Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition with the heavier and more robust Doubledown carcass on the front and rear. Except for the outdated 1×11 XT drivetrain from Shimano, there is nothing to fault in terms of componentry.

Custom fit
Rocky Mountain have put a recess in the carbon frame in order to accommodate a water bottle.
Standard bottom bracket
The Dyname 3.0 motor sits in front of the cranks and is connected directly to the drivetrain via the chain.
Sounds like a coffee grinder
Despite the new Silence Slider, the tensioners still make a lot of noise. Too bad since the motor itself is almost completely silent.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition

€ 9,000

Specifications

Motor Dyname 3.0 Drive 108Nm
Battery Li-Ion Battery 672Wh
Display iWoc Trio
Fork FOX 36 GRIP2 Factory 160 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X2 Factory 150 mm
Seatpost Race Face Turbine R Dropper 150 mm
Brakes Shimano XT 4-piston 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XT 1x11
Stem Rocky Mountain 35 CNC 45 mm
Handlebar Race Face Turbine R 780 mm
Wheelset Race Face Arc 30 27.5"

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 22.72 kg
Perm. total weight n/a kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) n/a kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount no

Specific Features


Integrated battery
The 672 Wh battery is firmly integrated into the frame and keeps the Altitude Powerplay looking nice and slender.
Minimalistic
The remote is small, compact and the operation is intuitive: coloured LEDs provide information about the support mode and battery status.
Annoying
The cover for the charging socket often comes loose. You have to fish dirt out of the charging socket before plugging it in – it’s just annoying.
Improved
Our model came with Exo casing MAXXIS tires, which is too thin for the intended use of the bike. Rocky Mountain have already made improvements here and for 2020 the Altitude Powerplay comes specced with the Doubledown casing – thumbs up!

Geometry and size of the Rocky Mountain

The geometry figures of the Rocky Mountain are very close to the test field average. Except for the very long 480 mm seat tube, that is.

Size S M L XL
Sattelrohr 419 mm 457 mm 483 mm 521 mm
Top tube 578 mm 603 mm 628 mm 658 mm
Head tube 110 mm 120 mm 130 mm 145 mm
Head angle 64.5° 65.0° 65.0° 65.0°
Seat angle 74.0° 74.0° 74.0° 74.0°
Chainstays 426 mm 426 mm 426 mm 426 mm
BB Drop 13 mm 13 mm 13 mm 13 mm
Wheelbase 1,157 mm 1,180 mm 1,206 mm 1,239 mm
Reach 407 mm 430 mm 452 mm 479 mm
Stack 583 mm 604 mm 613 mm 628 mm
Helmet Fox Flux MIPS | Glasses POC Aspire | Backpack USWE PATRIOT 15 | Shirt Leatt DBX 4.0 | Trousers Leatt DBX 3.0 | Shoes ION Rascal

The Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition on the trail

The pedalling position on the Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition is comfortable, making it ideal for longer outings. When going uphill, the slack seat tube angle (74°) positions the rider far over the rear wheel. Preventing the front from lifting on technical climbs requires a lot of physical effort as you have to shift your weight all the way forward. The tuning of the motor is unique and fundamentally different from the rest of the test field: the motor stops assisting very abruptly as soon as the rider stops pedalling. It takes a technically skilled rider with good pedal timing and good line choice to have fun on the climbs and harness the full 108 Nm torque of the Dyname motor.

With its mountain bike-like handling, you could almost forget that you’re riding an e-bike. Unfortunately, the omnipresent coffee grinder noise of the motor won’t let you forget.

When going downhill, the compact geometry makes you tense up and you have to actively shift your weight around to stay on top of the bike. We recommend adding spacers under the stem to minimise those over the bars feelings.While it can feel a bit touchy in the hands of a less experienced rider, experienced and aggressive riders will be able to make the most of its agile and playful handling. It is compact, manoeuvrable and resembles the character of non-motorised trail bikes more than any other ebike in the test field – even the agile Canyon can’t keep up. Unfortunately, the chain slaps the bottom of the chainstay, creating even more noise and chipping the paint. The suspension performs excellently and offers abundant reserves when the trail gets fast and rough.

The Rocky Mountain comes to life under the guidance of an experienced rider. For beginners, the handling can be a bit touchy at high speed.

Tuning tip: Earplugs for the noise 😉

Riding Characteristics

7

Agility

  1. sluggish
  2. playful

Stability

  1. nervous
  2. stable

Handling

  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Riding fun

  1. boring
  2. lively

Motor feeling

  1. digital
  2. natural

Motor power

  1. weak
  2. strong

Value for money

  1. poor
  2. top

Application

Forest road

1

Flow trail uphill

2

Flow trail downhill

3

Technical single trail uphill

4

Technical single trail downhill

5

Downhill tracks

6

Conclusion

The Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition is a great eMTB for all competitive and experienced riders who attach great importance to agile and lively handling. Its design, geometry and downhill performance comes very close to that of a non-motorised mountain bike, with a few drawbacks. However, it also rides like a non-motorised mountain bike on the climbs. Unfortunately, the loud noises of the motor quickly destroy the illusion of unnaturally powerful legs.

Tops

  • very playful
  • design
  • slender look

Flops

  • loud motor despite the new Silence Slider
  • motor cuts out abruptly
  • for experienced riders only

You can find out more about the Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition at bikes.com.

The test field

You can find everything you need to know about our test for the best eMTB of 2020 right here!

All bikes in test: BULLS SONIC EVO AM 6 | Cannondale Moterra 1 | Canyon Spectral:ON 9.0 | COMMENCAL META POWER 29 TEAM 2020 | CONWAY XYRON 927 Carbon | CUBE Stereo Hybrid 160 HPC | FANTIC XF1 180 Race | FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER | Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro | Haibike XDURO Nduro 10.0 | Liteville 301 CE MK1 | MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K | Moustache Samedi 27 Trail | Norco Range VLT C1 | NOX Hybrid Enduro 7.1 | Orbea WILD FS M-LTD | Pivot Shuttle 29 | Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition | ROTWILD R.X750 ULTRA | SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax | Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert | Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo | Trek Rail 9.9 | Whyte E-180 RS V1 | YT DECOY CF Pro Race


It's finally here: The E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition 2020 is our third annual edition and ultimate test bible, with which we aim to help you choose the perfect eMTB. More than 250 pages of extensive buyers advice, tons of eMTB know-how as well as reviews of the 35 most exciting eMTBs and the 7 best motors. You’ll also find many helpful tips and a guide to the most exciting eMTB trends – all of this is wrapped in a high quality print format. Click here for more information or order it directly in our shop!

Words: Felix Stix, Robin Schmitt, Jonas Müssig Photos: Finlay Anderson, Robin Schmitt, Felix Stix, Markus Frühmann