ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTINCT POWERPLAY 70
BC EDITION REVIEW
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.