Before we get into the review much, we have to address the fact that we had a motor failure at about 100 miles on the bike. We did a relatively quick and painless motor swap and have not had any issues since. We sent the drive unit back to Rocky Mountain and after they had torn the unit down and done more diagnostics, they found that the issue we had was exclusively limited to some early sample bikes that were not built on their factory assembly line. Andreas Hestler from Rocky Mountain shared “The good thing is that this issue was caught early on in the production, and we now have better assembly/test protocol that would have discarded that drive on the assembly line. The media bikes were sent earlier on a non-production batch, so the issue remained present on that particular bike.”
With the new unit installed we could go back to loving this bike and its incredible capabilities on all sorts of terrain. The changes made to the kinematics and mid-high pivot suspension platform give the Altitude Powerplay a composed and confident feel that let you push the boundaries of what you’ve been able to hit on your eMTB. No longer do we fight the balance of looking for bottom out resistance with harsh suspension performance or gaining a more compliant ride while regularly blowing through travel. We can now set the bike’s suspension up easily and have it eat up a variety of terrain without hiccup. Whether it was charging straight at lava rocks and washboard in central Oregon or hitting big drops and step downs in southern California, we all felt confident aboard the Altitude Powerplay C70. Our crew would love to see this bike drop a pound or two, as it felt less lively than some bikes in snappy, quick corners where you could flick the bike’s rear end side to side. It just felt like the weight was high on the bike and the bike wouldn’t dip as easily. The flip side of course is the composure and traction where other more playful bikes start getting a bit skittish.
When it came time to get back up for another lap, the Rocky Mountain is more than capable. With 720Wh of energy stored in the downtube, we were able to get tons of climbing in without range anxiety. The ability to customize the power assist and delivery is very cool and we definitely played with it a bit, although once we settled on our tune, we left it. Compared to some systems where you can put the bike in Turbo or Boost and just soft pedal your way up the hill, we’d say the Rocky Mountain Altitude, and all Powerplay eBikes require a bit more effort from the rider. Yes, you can adjust that tune some, but as a whole, these bikes like human torque. The benefit is you’ll get a solid workout and feel like you’re in-tune with the bike.
When you get this bike in the “powerband” hold on ‘cuz it’ll go! We conducted more than a few drag races and find that the Rocky Mountain is regularly at or near the front of the pack. It likes to go fast and if you get the right RPM and torque combination, it’s easy to drop your friends on the climbs. And of course, the massive 108Nm of torque…What a treat when you really need it. If you climb very steep trails, or especially if you love climbing rock slabs or technical stair-steppy ups, this thing will make you a hero. We love trying to find the gnarliest, steepest stuff to climb on this bike as it’s just so much fun.