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.
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.
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.
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.
WHO’S IT FOR?
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)