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.
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 Except for the outdated 1×11 XT drivetrain from Shimano, there is nothing to fault in terms of componentry.
Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition
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"
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
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.
|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|
|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|
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 😉
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.
- very playful
- slender look
- 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
Relaxed and comfortable riding on surfaced roads, both uphill and downhill.↩
Easy climbs up trails with few obstacles, wide turns and a moderate incline.↩
Active and playful descents on easy trails with few obstacles, wide turns and a moderate slope.↩
Single-track climbs on challenging terrain. Loose ground, steps, roots, tight corners and occasionally extreme inclines.↩
Singletrack descents on challenging terrain. Loose ground, steps, roots, tight corners and small jumps as well as some very steep descents.↩
High speed descents on sometimes very rough trails with large jumps and obstacles that you can’t roll over.↩
The rating used for riding characteristics refers to the bikes in the group test and the current state of development of eMTBs. The best bikes managed to blend supposedly opposite riding characteristics, feeling both lively and stable at the same time. The handling describes the balance of the bike on downhill sections. The information regarding motor-power refers to the ride-feeling in the overall context of the bike and not exclusively to the motor – that’s why the same motor can present different values.↩
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