Words by Nic Hall and Drew Rohde
Photos by Dusten Ryen / Drew Rohde

The Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay is Rocky’s do-it-all eMTB and in typical Canadian fashion, the BC Edition gives ‘er just a little bit more. Rocky Mountain’s more aggressive and longer travel version of the Instinct Powerplay is designed for riders who want just more travel for a more aggressive riding style. One of the most unique parts of Rocky Mountain’s eBikes is their unique Dyname drive unit. Rocky Mountain worked with Propulsion Powercycle, to design their own motor, battery, and control system that they say has the most natural feeling power delivery with high torque output, all while charging faster than the competition. We can definitely say the Dyname drive unit found on the Instinct Powerplay BC is unique, powerful and impressed our riders overall, though it does have some unique quirks we addressed in the video and our review below, this bike is worth checking out

Over the past year, we have spent a significant amount of time on the standard Instinct Powerplay and were warming up to the Dyname motor system and power delivery. So, you can imagine we were pretty stoked when Rocky told us the new BC edition was headed our way.

From a geometry standpoint, the Instinct BC Edition is adds 15mm of rear travel and 20mm up front. The head tube angle is 65.9 degrees, reach is 454mm, bottom bracket drop is 19mm, and wheelbase is 1,221mm on our size large. A 74.4 seat tube angle is far from the steepest but works fine for a majority of the climbs we encounter. The 443mm rear center blended snappy handling with climbing traction nicely.

Suspension kinematics are the same Smoothlink design we’ve grown to know from Rocky Mountain but with a longer link that brings rear travel to 155mm. Each size frame has been designed with a size specific tune to ensure the best performance for the average size rider for each frame. Front squish has been increased to 160mm with a plush Fox 36 fork. (Editor’s Note, this model is a 2020 and for 2021, Rocky has gone to a Fox 38 spec, which is great news for aggressive riders.)

We were very impressed with Dyname 3.0 drive system. It delivers 108Nm of torque, which we believe is the highest in the industry for a Class 1 system, all while spinning at only 1,200 RPM, which keeps it very quiet. The power output has been tuned to ramp torque output to match the rider’s input to minimize the feeling of jerky on/off power and decreases wheel spin on climbs. The motor is also very fast to shut off power to the pedals when the rider input stops, which decreases the strange ghost power feeling of early motor systems. Depending on the scenario, this could be useful or not. Rocky accomplished this by using a novel solution of chain position sensors instead of strain sensors in the cranks which let them speed up the system while retaining a standard MTB bottom bracket. Very cool ingenuity and a quick-responding unit.


The battery is 672Wh and is fully contained in the downtube. It charges surprisingly fast with 80% in 2 hours and 10 minutes and a full charge in 3 hours and 50 minutes. Rocky also increased voltage, opting for a 48-volt system instead of the traditional 36 volt, this boosts available power and increases the efficiency of the system. An additional 330Wh battery, called the Overtime pack, is available as well and can be locked right on top of the motor system providing a massive 1,000Wh total. All that power can be controlled through Rocky’s app with customizable assist levels while providing ride statistics and remaining battery levels. The iWOC remote controls the power settings on the handlebar, it is ultra-minimal, and only provides limited information to the rider which is something we felt could have been better executed for on-the-bike info.

The Instinct 90 BC Edition comes loaded with a killer build. Fox handles squish duties with their 36 Float EVOL Grip2 front fork and Float X2 rear shock. The drivetrain is Shimano XT 10-51 rear cassette with Race Face Aeffect 170mm cranks. Braking is handled by Shimano XT 4 piston trail brakes and traction is delivered to the ground with a Maxxis Minion DHF front and DHR 2 rear. The new Race Face Turbine seatpost is a Fox Transfer in disguise, which is a very good thing as we’ve had great luck with them while Race Face ARC 30 wheels offer a dependable ride and are wide and strong enough for the most aggressive eBike rider. We wouldn’t change much with the build except for running 165mm cranks. eMTBs allow the rider to spin in new areas and shorter cranks are a must. The whole package comes in at 52.5lbs with pedals, which isn’t terrible for all that capability, but bikes are quickly dropping weight so we’d love to see this thing in the high 40’s to stay competitive.


We like climbing fast! The new mantra of the Wolf Pack is “All Boost, all the time,” so when we jumped on Rocky’s Dyname system, we were surprised at the departure from the other systems we have been on. It does engage very quickly, however it’s not that drag-race launch some early eMTB systems offered. Instead it’s a more gradual and smooth application of assistance that we grew to nickname “The Rock Crawler” effect. When starting a climb, the system is seemingly slow (read natural) to ramp up its massive 108Nm of torque, which really does decrease wheel spin and the feeling of looping out on steep starts. Although it doesn’t have that whiplash-inducing Boost mode from a dead stop feel, (which is not a bad thing actually), once you’re up to cadence, the system can nearly outclimb any other system we have been riding but you wouldn’t notice it because you are still working to get that power. Since it delivers max torque at a cadence around 85RPM, the Dyname is as close to a natural feeling pedaling system we have found. So if you’re on lower pitch climbs fast pedaling and quick shifts will have you pulling away from your friends. But if you’re looking to put it in Turbo mode and soft-pedal at 20MPH, this isn’t quite the bike for that. It took us a minute to readjust, but we liked the natural feel and massive power when we needed it. Although you can’t just sit and spin at max speed like early Shimano Steps E8000 systems did, you will get more peak power and get a decent workout while knowing you’ll have all the support you need when you stand up to tackle a technical pitch.


We consistently get over 3,000-ft of climbing out of one charge on the Instinct BC edition in moderate temps. On really cold or very warm days, battery life dropped a bit. Milage is heavily dependent on how steep the climbs are and how much boost we use and naturally the rider weight. Most of our crew is in the 165-175lb range. In medium assistance, we were able to get a bit more milage but around the same 3000ft of total climbing in. Charging is very quick on the Instinct. You can put in a full morning ride and have it charged almost to the top by the time lunch and few drinks are done for the afternoon.

Descending on the Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay BC is fun all around but the 65.9-degree head tube angle certainly present some limitations for truly steep, high speed situations. While the relatively steeper head tube angle will cause some more timid riding for those on the fastest and gnarliest chutes, the reality is, for tighter, more technical and commonly-found terrain the bike is lively, fun and rewarding. It didn’t hold us back on 99% of our rides and believe that a majority of riders will feel the same on most of their rides. Suspension is supple off the top, sensitive and quick to react. The downside is we felt it was a bit too linear for some of our more aggressive riders who’d blow through the travel when landing drops or step downs. A simple remedy by the addition of some larger volume reducers and we were able to get the bike riding smoothly and offer a nice progressive feel for going big.

At 454mm for the size large, the reach is on the short side and did put us a bit over the front end compared to other 160ish-mm bikes. We’d like to see reach increase a bit towards the 470-475mm range as it would offer some more confidence and stability while still retaining the playfulness this bike packs in spades.


The Wolf’s Last Word

Overall the Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay BC Edition bike is a solid offering and one that we absolutely enjoyed riding. It has a few quirks in the motor, like a strange clicking/knocking when resting your foot on the pedals (See the video) and the geometry is a bit steep and short when compared to many newer “modern” 160mm bikes, but it’s still incredibly capable, fun and ready to shred. The all-around fun, suspension and torque are major standouts when discussing the Instinct Powerplay BC Edition. We could climb and scratch our way up the most technical climbs thanks to the predictable and powerful delivery of assistance, change directions quickly and keep traction thanks to the soft and supple rear end. Many riders noted how much traction and cornering confidence they had too, thanks to the tire’s ability to stay planted and on the ground. If you’re looking for a longer-travel eMTB that isn’t overkill on the trail but still has enough travel for the big hits, the Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay BC Edition is worth a test ride.

Price: $6,899
Weight: 52.2 lbs


Frame: FORM Alloy
Fork: Fox 36 E-MTB Float EVOL Grip Performance 160mm
Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Performance

Drive System: Dyname 3.0 Class 1 eMTB Drive | 250w | 108Nm
Battery: 672 Wh Fully Integrated Li-Ion
Remote: iWoc Trio

Brakes: Shimano XT Trail 4 Piston | 203mm
Shifter: Shimano XT
Handlebar: Rocky Mountain AM 780mm
Headset: FSA Orbit NO.57E
Stem: Rocky Mountain 35 AM
Saddle: WTB Volt Race 142
Seatpost: Race Face Turbine R Dropper 30.9mm

Hubs: (f) Rocky Mountain Sealed Boost 15mm
(r) DT Swiss Hybrid 370 Boost 148mm
Rims: Race Face AR 30
Front tire: Maxxis Minion DHF WT Double Down Maxx Grip 3C 29×2.5
Rear tire: Maxxis Aggressor WT Double Down 29 x 2.5

Bottom Bracket: Shimano SM-BBMT500
Cassette: Shimano XT 10-51T
Cranks: Race Face Aeffect Cinch 34T
Derailleur: Shimano XT

We Dig

Power and Torque
Natural feeling application of power
Supple, smooth suspension
Fun everywhere
Climbs anything

We Don’t

Hard to read battery life indicator
Short reach
Steep-ish head tube angle
Could be lighter


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