The Instinct Powerplay is the second model in Rocky Mountain’s eMTB portfolio and stands right below the popular Altitude Powerplay — just like its non-motorized cousin. We were lucky enough to test one before the official launch.

Brand new and available now! The new Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay Alloy 70 comes with 140 mm of travel, 29” wheels and a price tag of € 6,000.

At first glance the new Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay looks a lot like its bigger brother, the Altitude Powerplay. That’s no surprise, the two frames have a lot in common! The Instinct Powerplay also features the same motor Rocky Mountain developed in collaboration with Propulsion Powercycle and the same fully-integrated battery concealed inside the slim down tube. The top-end Alloy 70 version has a 630 Wh battery whilst the cheaper 50 model — which retails at € 5000 — only comes with a 500 Wh capacity. The motor features a customary bottom bracket and classic cranks which allow for uncomplicated replacement in case of damage. Unlike the Altitude Powerplay however, the Instinct offers 140 mm of travel both front and rear, big 29″ wheels and is primarily aimed at trail and touring riders. These will be pleased to hear that the frame triangle of the Instinct Powerplay can take a water bottle — or even two if you use the special bottle cage Rocky Mountain recently presented.

Like the Altitude the Instinct Powerplay relies on an in-house developed motor.
The bottom bracket is not integrated in the motor. The unusual design allows for easy and quick removal and replacement of the cranks in case of damage.
Thanks to a new special bottle holder from Lezyne the frame triangle of the Instinct Powerplay can take two drinking bottles.
The fully-integrated 630 Wh battery of the Alloy 70 top-end model sits firmly inside the slim down tube.
The battery reaches charges up to 80% in just 2 hours.

New iWoc TRIO-Remote on all Powerplay models

In the coming season all Rocky Mountain eMTBs will feature the new iWoc TRIO remote unit. Coloured LEDs provide information on battery status and support level. The slim remote impresses with good ergonomics and a vibration mode even provides haptic feedback – very nice detail indeed! In addition you can connect the unit to an app via Bluetooth and set the support levels directly from your smartphone. Unfortunately the app doesn’t allow you to configure the actual motor characteristics.

The new iWoc TRIO-Remote uses coloured LEDs to provide information on support level and battery status.
Like the Altitude the Instinct has a small box under the stem.

The geometry of the new Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay

Rocky Mountain uses their own motor mainly because this allows them to retain the geometry of the non-motorized models and use it for their Powerplay models. And the Instinct Powerplay is no exception. Almost all frame measurements are identical apart from the rear-triangle which has been stretched by 7 mm to achieve better climbing characteristics. For a bike in this category all other numbers are anything but radical and make for a very good-natured and intuitive handling ride — at least on paper. Thanks to the Ride9 flip-chip inside the shock mount you can adjust the geometry and characteristic curve of the bike to your very liking, the following geometry table is based on the neutral setting.

Size S M L XL
Seattube 394 mm 432 mm 470 mm 508 mm
Toptube 573 mm 597 mm 624 mm 654 mm
Headtube 100 mm 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm
Headangle 66.5° 66.5° 66.5° 66.5°
Seatangle 75.2° 75.3° 75.1° 75.1°
Chainstays 442 mm 442 mm 442 mm 442 mm
BB drop 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm
Wheelbase 1,161 mm 1,186 mm 1,213 mm 1,244 mm
Reach 412 mm 437 mm 460 mm 487 mm
Stack 608 mm 608 mm 617 mm 626 mm
The Ride9 system allows you to adjust the geometry and kinematics of the bike.

The spec of the Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay

Rocky Mountain currently offers two versions of their Instinct Powerplay. We tested the top-end Instinct Powerplay 70- model which retails at € 6,000 and features a 630 Wh battery, FOX 34 Float Performance fork, SRAM Guide RE brakes and a SRAM GX/NX-Eagle drivetrain. The wheels consist of a robust DT Swiss hybrid rear hub and Race Face AR 30 rims.

The FOX 34 FLOAT Performance fork is optimised for electric mountain-bikes and provides great sensitivity and tons of comfort.
The combination of a SRAM GX-Eagle drivetrain with a robust NX-steel cassette offers a very decent gear range which makes even the toughest of climbs a little less overwhelming.
Both versions come with a dropper-post as standard.

Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay Alloy 70

Fork FOX 34 Float Performance 140 mm
Shock FOX Float DPS Performance Elite 140 mm
Motor/Battery Dyname 3.0 632 Wh
Drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle
Brakes SRAM Guide RE 200/200 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer Performance
Wheels Race Face AR 30
Tires Maxxis Rekon EXO 29×2.6″
Price € 6,000

Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay Alloy 50

Fork RockShox Reba RL 140 mm
Shock RockShox Deluxe Debonair RT 140 mm
Motor/Battery Dyname 3.0 500 Wh
Drivetrain SRAM GX 1×11
Brakes SRAM Guide T 200/200 mm
Seatpost Race Face Aeffect Dropper
Wheels Sun Düroc SD37/Rocky Mountain
Tires Maxxis Rekon EXO 29×2.6″
Price € 5,000

Poor grip and little puncture resistance: the weak MAXXIS Rekon tires don’t do the overall package of the Instinct Powerplay justice.
The SRAM Guide RE brakes are cheap but reliable. In our opinion however the Guide T model of the Alloy 50 version lacks the necessary power.
No mountain is too high for the Powerplay… as long as the battery lasts.

Riding the Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay

When the guys at Rocky Mountain developed the Instinct Powerplay they wanted to create a comfortable touring bike — and you only have to ride a few meters to understand that they nailed it! The riding position is pleasantly centred and upright rather than sporty. On the flats you can transfer good power into the pedals without having to place yourself either too far forward or too far back over the rear wheel. The motor responds promptly and churns out tons of power with the slightest pressure on the pedal. This might feel a little odd at first but makes uphill starts a lot easier. Even at high speeds the motor offers good modulation — which translates into better traction.

The Instinct impresses with a very comfortable riding position in the flats.

When the climb gets steep you feel a bit like you’re pedalling from behind. Having said that the front wheel never threatens to lift off the ground. The motor pushes powerfully and works quietly. Unfortunately it’s the pulley wheels that make quite a noise instead, especially when dirt comes into play. The suspension and wide tires provide great amounts of comfort without causing the rear end to feel inefficient. As for us, we didn’t even bother locking out the shock during our test. The motor proved to be very economical in our first test-rounds. After about 600 m of climbing we still had more than two thirds of battery left — and that’s despite the cold temperatures and our 90 kg rider constantly riding in high support levels. If you’re planning to ride long tours however you’re better off looking for another bike — unfortunately the fully-integrated system of the Powerplay doesn’t let you swap batteries over.

The Instinct masters technical climbs with ease. Rear-end traction is superb and the motor modulates sensitively.
Whenever the trail gets steep the Instinct’s superb climbing characteristics put a massive grin on your face.
The Instinct offers a very balanced and good natured handling.

Once you turn your nose downhill you can’t help but staring at the tires and hope for the best. Unfortunately the MAXXIS Rekon offer little grip and, in combination with the thin EXO carcass, feel rather wobbly and fragile on technical terrain. This means: be careful on demanding descents or you’ll end up with a flat tire! If you spend most of the time riding on demanding trails it’s worth investing in some robuster tires right away. And that’s also because the Instinct Powerplay is actually extremely good on downhills. It’s intuitive, good-natured and follows quick direction changes with precision despite the big 29” wagon-wheels. Compared to most eMTBs on the market the Instinct Powerplay is incredibly agile and nimble. At the same time the extra weight of the motor allows for better control at high speeds. But if you really want to hit the trails hard and you’re looking for an even more agile e-shredder you should take a look at the Altitude Powerplay.

The suspension is extremely sensitive and filters out all kinds of knocks effortlessly.


The Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay is a great addition to Rocky Mountain’s electric portfolio. Like the Altitude, the Instinct Powerplay offers a very natural, agile handling with the added comfort for long tours. The big wheels are a pleasant feature but the integrated battery could be a major issue for long-distance riders.


– Very comfortable
– Agile, balanced handling
– Good range on one charge


– Tires lack grip and puncture resistance
– Fully integrated battery
– Rocker-arm is noisy

Rocky Mountain also released a new alloy version of the Altitude

More information on the Rocky Mountain website

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