2022 eMTB SHOOTOUT

ROCKY MOUNTAIN ALTITUDE POWERPLAY C70

Video by Brian Niles / Treeline Cinematic
Photos by Dusten Ryen

Rocky Mountain’s Altitude Powerplay Carbon 70 is designed to excel as an aggressive enduro eMTB crusher, with dual 29” wheels and 160mm of mid-high pivot rear wheel travel. Since the Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay eBike has already been reviewed at length before arriving at our 4th Annual eMTB Shootout, we’re going to keep this write up a bit shorter and more focused on the ride impressions and who we think the ideal buyer of this bike might be. If you want to see our Tech Check video or read the longer, full-length written review of the Altitude Powerplay, hit the link here, and be sure to watch our full length eBike Shootout video to see what the best eMTBs on the market for 2022 are and how this compares.

QUICK HITS

• 160mm Smoothlink Suspension
• HTA 63.5
• STA 75.5 (effective)
• REACH 475 (Large)

Price: $5,750 (Alloy 30) – $10,650 (Carbon 90)
Website: Bikes.com

THE LAB

Rocky Mountain continues to use their exclusive and unique Dyname system on their Powerplay eBikes, with the system now on its fourth iteration. Dyname 4.0 delivers a whopping 108Nm of torque to the system, which uses a standard mountain bike crank. The system is powered by a 720Wh removable, integrated battery, which can be boosted to 1,034Wh with their Overtime pack option for the biggest days in the saddle. The Jumbotron display is integrated neatly into the top tube of the frame to keep it safe from damage and always visible.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Profile Shot - 2022 eMTB Shootout

Rocky Mountain offers both Smoothwall carbon fiber and aluminum front triangles, which share the same FORM aluminum alloy rear triangle. On both frame options you get 160mm of rear wheel travel delivered by their Smoothlink mid-high pivot Horst Link suspension system, and a pair of 29” wheels. Rocky Mountain’s Ride-4 geometry adjustment chip makes an appearance, allowing for quick tuning of the geometry and kinematic to the terrain between 4 positions. Riders who also like adjustability will appreciate the ability to convert travel and change the Altitude Powerplay to the Instinct Powerplay and vice versa.

The Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 70 we tested runs for $9,059, and features a Performance Elite level 170mm travel Fox 38 paired with a Float X2 shock with a size-specific tune. Shimano’s XT level components handle the braking and gearing duties, with a 170mm Raceface Aeffect Cinch crankset and their Aeffect R dropper. A pair of WTB ST i30 rims are wrapped in Cush Core XC inserts and Maxxis Assegai MaxxGrip, Minion DHR2 MaxxTerra DD tire combination, with a Rocky Mountain front hub and DT Swiss 370 rear. The finishing kit is a mixture of in-house Rocky Mountain and WTB bits.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Rear Stays - 2022 eMTB Shootout
Santa Cruz Bronson V4 CC Rear Triangle

Rocky Mountain carried the majority of the geometry over from their also freshly redesigned Altitude acoustic bike, which falls firmly in the aggressive all mountain to enduro realm. The angles mean business, but the rear end is kept to a relatively short length to retain some snappiness for popping and playing down the hill. Overall, the handling struck a solid middle ground in the range of enduro eMTBs in the shootout, with a good compromise of handling characteristics that pleased all the testers.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C70 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

THE DIRT

One of the standout features of the Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C70 is their unique Dyname 4.0 motor system, which is integrated very nicely into the bike. Rocky addressed some notable issues we experienced with the previous generation motor when producing their latest 4.0 generation. The result is a motor system that absolutely hangs with the best of them, and then some. The natural feeling assistance delivers a class leading 108Nm of peak torque to the rear wheel, letting the Altitude Powerplay C70 claw its way up some seriously impressive climbs. That said, the system won’t be for everyone, as it requires more input than most to achieve the maximum “go”.

An early preproduction motor failure made us aware of the potential vulnerability of a customer with the Rocky Mountain system, as sourcing a replacement when on a riding trip in a slightly remote area could be more challenging when compared to the much more prevalent Shimano and Bosch systems and their dealer network. We were assured that our issue was limited to pre-production test bikes and protocols in the assembly line would have caught our issue and spit the motor out for evaluation and repair. Nevertheless, we felt it worth mentioning as we regularly find ourselves driving cross country and riding in remote destinations.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C70 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

Rocky Mountain employs a mid-high pivot suspension system on the Altitude Powerplay, which produces a notably composed ride through chunky rock and root infested trails. The Altitude Powerplay edges out the majority of the competition when the going gets rough, without producing the negative traits that a true high pivot can. Without a doubt, that composure and confidence earned this bike a high rating overall and allowed our testers to push this bike into situations we were timid about putting other eBikes.

One downside to the Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 70 is that it tips the scales at the higher end of the enduro eBike category. While the geometry is pretty dialed for most of our riders, the perceived weight affects the bike’s ability to change direction easily and requires more input to pull for natural gaps. Once airborne however, the Altitude Powerplay inspires confidence, with great stability in the air and an impressive ability to take the big-hits without fuss. When we hit bigger jump lines, the Altitude Powerplay felt totally natural and was a blast, it just took a bit more effort on smaller side hits and while trying to flick it around. Also perhaps a trait of the incredible ground-hugging suspension platform.

Similarly, the geometry errs towards the more stable side, but a relatively short rear end and mid length reach value means there’s still enough agility thrown into the mix to tackle a wide variety of trails happily. The combination of a comfortable suspension platform and the natural feeling assistance of the Dyname 4.0 system produces a bike that’s certainly not scared of a big day in the saddle, though your legs will likely know about it more than if you were riding the more artificial feeling competitors. The spec list on the $9k Rocky may not be flashy, but we all agreed it’s the smart spec choice that delivers top level performance without tipping into the superbike territory where the returns on your dollar can be diminishing.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C70 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

The Wolf’s Last Word

Rocky Mountains’ Altitude Powerplay C70 is a fantastic all-round Enduro eMTB, equally happy charging rough terrain as it is pedaling up steep and loose backcountry climbs. The rough terrain and big hit performance rank amongst the best in test, and the Dyname 4.0 motor system provides unparalleled power and a natural feeling that will excel for riders who are willing to put in the wattage to reap the rewards. It wouldn’t be our play bike of choice, but it’ll still happily sail through the air confidently for a rider who’s willing to pull that extra bit harder to overcome the relatively high overall weight. Rocky Mountain have done a wonderful job updating the Altitude Powerplay, making it a bike that we very highly recommend to a wide variety of riders. 

You can check out our full-length review of the Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C70 here.

Price: $9,059 (C70 Tested)
Weight: 54 lbs
Website: Bikes.com

VISIT ROCKY MOUNTAIN BIKES TO GET YOURS!

ROCKY MOUNTAIN ALTITUDE POWERPLAY SPEC:

CHASSIS
Frame: Smoothwall Carbon front, Form Alloy Rear; 160mm
Fork: Fox 38 29 Performance 170mm EVOL Grip
Shock: Fox Float X2 Performance

COCKPIT
Brakes: Shimano XT Trail, 203F/R rotors
Handlebar: Rocky Mountain AM 35mm| 780mm| 38mm Rise
Stem: Rocky Mountain AM 35mm | 40mm Length
Headset: FSA Orbit No.57E
Seatpost: Race Face Aeffect R Dropper 175mm
Saddle: WTB Volt Race

WHEELS
Hubs: F – Rocky Sealed, R – DT Swiss Hybrid 370
Rims: WTB ST i30 TCS 2.0

DRIVETRAIN
Bottom Bracket: Race Face Cinch
Cassette: Shimano XT 12spd; 10-51T
Cranks: Race Face Aeffect Cinch; 34t ring; 170mm
Shifter: Shimano XT; 12spd
Derailleur: Shimano XT; 12spd

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay - 2022 eMTB Shootout

We Dig

Motor torque
Natural pedal feel
Electronics integration
Balanced handling
Suspension performance
Confident downhill charger

We Don’t

Pedal strikes (170mm cranks)
Not ultra playful on small side hits

OUR 2022 eMTB SHOOTOUT WAS MADE POSSIBLE
THANKS TO THESE GREAT SPONSORS:

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C70 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

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