Photos by Max Rhulen & Dusten Ryen
Video by Brian Niles / Treeline Cinematic

Returning to defend its “Best Big Mountain Enduro Bike” crown from last year’s eMTB Shootout, this time around Rocky Mountain sent us the “Rally Edition” top-spec Altitude Powerplay C90, which promises to pack an even harder punch with its coil-sprung mid-high pivot rear end. Unchanged for 2023, we had to include the Rocky Mountain with its unique Dyname 4.0 drive system once again in this year’s shootout, to see if anything had overtaken it. If you want to see 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 we think are the best eBikes on the market for 2023. For now, though, let us give you a brief overview of this Rocky Mountain Altitude eMTB and how it stacks up.

2023 EMTB SHOOTOUT SERIES – This bike was one of 13 that our staff thoroughly tested with absolute objectivity in mind. From different types of riders to terrain, our goal is to present the best and most honest information possible to help you make your best decision. Of course, we’d love to thank Fox Racing and Schwalbe Tires for being invaluable partners to this series and making it happen.


• 160mm Smoothlink Suspension
• 29” Wheels
• Dyname 4.0 Motor
• 720Wh Battery
• Ride-4 Geo Adjust
• HTA 63.5 (Slack)
• STA 75.5 (effective)
• REACH 475 (Large)

Price: $6,199 (A30 Coil) – $11,399 (C90 R.E.)
Website: Bikes.com


Rocky Mountain’s Altitude Powerplay is offered in either Smoothwall carbon fiber or aluminum front triangles depending on the spec level, which share the same FORM aluminum alloy rear triangle. Regardless of the frame material there’s the same 160mm of rear wheel travel delivered by their Smoothlink mid-high pivot Horst Link suspension system and a 170mm fork up front. The Altitude Powerplay is equipped with a pair of 29” wheels as standard, but there’s the option to convert to a mixed wheel setup with their $136 MX mount. The geometry and kinematics can be tweaked between 4 positions with Rocky’s Ride-4 mount. Those looking for more versatility may also appreciate that you can change the travel of Rocky’s Powerplay eBikes (Instinct to Altitude and vice-versa) so you can essentially have two different category eMTBs with just a fork, shock and maybe even a wheel/tire swap if you really want to get serious about changing performance and weight.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C90 Profile Shot


Carried over from the 2022 models, the Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay uses their own Dyname 4.0 drive system system on their Powerplay eBikes, delivering a best-in-test 108Nm of torque to the system, and making use of a standard mountain bike bottom bracket and crank. The system is powered by a 720Wh removable integrated battery, which can be boosted to 1,034Wh with their $719 Overtime pack range extender. Their Jumbotron display sits neatly in the top tube of the frame, giving a simple but effective black and white read out of the key information.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C90 Geo Sheet


The Rocky Mountain Altitude has a fairly well-rounded yet aggressive geometry, which can be tweaked easily with the Ride-4 chip to tailor the preference between improved ground clearance and agility, or stability.


The Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay is available in a range of builds from the $6,199 Alloy 30 Coil to the $11,399 Carbon 90 Rally Edition tested. This top-tier build is equipped with a build kit that evidently has aggressive intentions, with a coil-sprung Fox DHX2 Factory rear shock and 38 Factory 170mm fork. The drivetrain and brakes are Shimano’s XT; with their 4-piston brakes stopping on 203mm rotors, and a 12-speed drivetrain with a 10-51t cassette. The handlebar and cranks are Race Face Turbine, with a 35mm clamp and 35mm rise alloy bar, and the alloy Cinch cranks in 165mm on Small and Medium and 170mm on the larger sizes. The seatpost is a Fox Transfer Factory to match the suspension, in size-specific lengths, with a WTB Volt saddle on top. The wheels are a burly Race Face ARC HD 30, laced to a pair of DT Swiss 350 hubs.

The wheels are normally wrapped in a Maxxis Assegai/DHR2 DD tire pairing, but for our 2023 eMTB Shootout, Schwalbe provided a Magic Mary and Big Betty Soft Super Gravity combination. These were fitted to all bikes on test to produce a consistent and reliable base to improve the ease of comparison between each bike and deliver dependable performance.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C90


SETUP | Getting the Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C90 Rally Edition setup was relatively easy, with the coil supplied on the size large suiting the ~170-175lbs average of most of the test crew. Swapping out springs for our heavier riders proved to be more of a task than it should have been though – the Fox shock demands that you remove the lower shock hardware to release the spring collar, and this hardware proved to be in the shock very tight. We were perplexed by the lack of ability to slide the spring collar off the side of the shock stanchion. Other than this, there was limited fuss required to get the Altitude Powerplay feeling good and ready to attack.

ELECTRONICS & INTEGRATION | Our favorite trait of the Dyname 4.0 system, which pushed us to give the Rocky Mountain an award in our previous shootout and all of the crew excited to have it back in the mix, is its raw power. The 108Nm of torque far exceeds the 85-90Nm of the other motors in the test, and is very noticeable when climbing up the steepest pitches. The Rocky requires the rider to input slightly more power to unleash the full capabilities of the motor, but when they do it’s seriously impressive, and avoids being uncontrollable due to highly reactive torque sensors tailoring the motor output effectively. The noise is different to the other systems – slightly more of a mechanical rumble than a high pitched “whir” – which is preferable to some testers and a negative for others. We had issues with torque sensor errors flashing up when resting a foot on the pedals at a standstill, which was frustrating and led to a bit more sour of a taste for some riders. Integration is stellar though, with a clean look all around and a nice compact and ergonomic remote.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C90 Climbing

CLIMBING | With all of the Dyname 4.0 power on tap, and relatively balanced geometry to allow it to be put down to the ground, the Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay is excellent going up the hill. You can point yourself up the steepest of grades that are out of reach of any of the other bikes on test, and if you’re a heavier rider then it’ll let you stay on the tails of (or even pass) other riders. Technical moves are better suited by a power-first approach than a more delicate and agile approach, and pedal clearance continues to be an issue due to the relatively low bottom bracket and long 170mm cranks. We’d recommend switching out these cranks immediately for a shorter option if you plan to ride any technical and chunky climbs.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C90

DESCENDING | The Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay was one of our favorite aggressive descending eBikes in last year’s shootout, and the coil-sprung rear end only adds sensitivity and traction. The mid-high pivot gives some excellent rough terrain performance, without producing any strange handling characteristics that demand a different approach when riding. It loves to charge, but isn’t the most playful feeling bike, instead preferring to rely on speed and a more defined takeoff to get airborne. Give it a decent takeoff or hard pull though, and it’ll happily fly, and you can aim it into just about any downslope with confidence thanks to the capabilities of the suspension and Cushcore-equipped wheels. The Rocky is a certified big mountain shredder and if it came time to tackle double-black diamond downhill tracks, this is always one of the most picked bikes in the lineup.

FINISH AND VALUE | At $11,399 for an XT and alloy wheeled bike, the C90 Rally Edition Rocky is never going to stand out as particularly good value, but the quality is very high all round and the most powerful drive unit does help to somewhat justify it. Aside from the 170mm crank arm length there’s nothing that we’d have to change if it were our own bike. Our only concerns would be with support if we had issues with the motor and didn’t happen to be close to a Rocky Mountain dealer. This could prevent some of us from buying one if we were likely to travel to remote areas, but we haven’t heard of enough issues to totally put us off either, so maybe we’re unjustifiably cautious.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C90

The Wolf’s Last Word

The Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C90 Rally Edition is still an incredible bike that inspires aggressive riding, and the Dyname 4.0 motor continues to impress us with its animalistic power and reasonable control. Riders should be prepared to replace the 170mm cranks to increase ground clearance for tech climbs, and it would be best to ensure there’s a Rocky Mountain dealer within an accessible distance in case of freak motor issues.


The Altitude Powerplay deserves gnarly terrain and a rider who wants to annihilate climbs to fully harness its capabilities. So, we’d highly recommend the Rocky to riders who are looking to ride aggressively in both directions. There are better options for riders looking to climb nibbly, chunky tech, and for riding mellower descents or with a more playful style, but give the Rocky some suitable terrain, keep off the brakes and it’ll come alive! This thing loves to go fast and doesn’t even flinch when you point it at the rockiest, rootiest downhill tracks in sight.

Price: $11,399 (C90 Rally Edition)
Weight: 53.6lbs
Website: Bikes.com


Frame: Smoothwall Carbon front, Form Alloy Rear; 160mm
Fork: Fox 38 29 Factory Grip2 | 170mm
Shock: Fox DHX2 Factory | SLS Spring

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

Hubs: DT Swiss Hybrid 350
Rims: Race Face ARC HD 30
Front tire: Maxxis Assegai 2.5” MaxxGrip DD (with Cushcore)
Rear tire: Maxxis Minion 2.4” MaxxTerra DD (with Cushcore)

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

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay C90

We Dig

Motor is the most powerful
Natural pedal feel
Balanced handling
Aggressive descending prowess
So fast and confident feeling

We Don’t

170mm cranks still… Pedal strikes
Need to put in effort to get power (only a negative for some)
Torque sensor errors while resting feet on pedals


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