Review: Rocky Mountain Bikes’ 2022 Altitude Powerplay is a powerful, long travel beast

A couple of years in the past having a long travel 29er with meaty tires and slack geometry was about probably the most succesful bike you may get… however then we added motors! With a large battery, a great deal of energy output, fashionable (and adjustable) body geometry, 170/160mm travel, and 29” wheels, Rocky Mountain Bikes’ 2022 Altitude Powerplay is an eMTB that may do absolutely anything… all day long.

I received to journey the Altitude Powerplay Carbon 70 all through final fall/winter till heavy snow ended my season. In January I used to be instructed the bike needed to be despatched elsewhere so I headed to Vancouver’s snow-free trails for a last check journey. And on the final minute, issues received attention-grabbing…

2022 Altitude Powerplay – Key Specs:

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, side

There’s a lot to speak about with this bike, so hyperlink to my launch article for all the small print on body building, suspension, geometry, and construct specs on the 2022 Altitude and Instinct Powerplay bikes.

To sum it up rapidly, the Altitude Powerplay presents very related geometry to the non-powered Altitude so it’s totally up-to-date with sizing and angles. Thanks to its Ride 4 chip and chainstay flip-chip, there’s a formidable vary of geo fiddling that may take the bike from enduro sled to backcountry explorer with a few twists of an Allen key.

The Carbon 70 mannequin I rode has a carbon entrance finish and an aluminum rear and rides on 29” wheels. With its huge 720wH battery, RMB’s listed weight of 51.8lbs for the Altitude Powerplay Carbon 70 is fairly affordable.

Ride Impressions – Electronics:

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, motor

Let’s begin with crucial a part of the eMTB’s digital elements: the motor. I began out using the Altitude Powerplay as an eMTB rookie, so I undoubtedly put this factor to the smoothness check! This bike taught me the completely different cadence and pedalling strategies required for using eMTBs at their finest, and its clean energy supply dealt with my preliminary hacking impressively properly.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, SF climbing Lumpy's

Once I received accustomed to the bike, it was mainly faultless by way of predictability and acceptable energy supply. The Altitude Powerplay does a nice job of offering increase on the proper time, in order long as you’re close to the best gear this bike will make it easier to stand up virtually something. I didn’t even alter the response degree or total Boost ranges, and I’m unsure I’d ever really feel the necessity because the manufacturing unit settings felt nice. It is all the time good to have that choice, although.

After my brief studying curve, the Altitude Powerplay by no means stunned me by lurching ahead or not delivering energy when anticipated, and I by no means felt the necessity to pedal in a clumsy method to keep up help from the motor. I additionally observed the bike dealt with fast up/down terrain predictably and reliably, switching on and off simply as you’d count on it to.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, motor, non-drive side

With the brand new motor’s 108Nm max output, the Altitude Powerplay presents class-leading energy. I can’t examine it to many different eMTBs, however I can say it by no means left me wanting. I didn’t ever really feel the necessity to climb singletrack within the highest ‘Ludicrous’ mode (I attempted it on the road, it is undoubtedly ludicrous!).

Despite all that energy, the brand new Dyname 4.0 motor runs quietly. I rode with a number of different eMTBs (together with Specialized and Commencal) and observed the others have been louder by comparability. It’s not like you possibly can’t hear it working, however the up to date motor is impressively quiet.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, handlebar remote

As for controls, I had no situation determining any changes, calibration, or setup with the Altitude Powerplay (and I’m not a tech genius). RMB’s system is easy, with every little thing managed by the Micro Remote on the handlebar and the only button on the ‘Jumbotron’ high tube display screen. There are a number of foremost show display screen choices that prioritise completely different journey knowledge, and it’s straightforward to pick out your favorite.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, Jumbotron display

One factor I actually like in regards to the 2022 Altitude Powerplay is that there’s no app for it! I do know some folks would possibly lament the dearth of an app, however I’m a fan of maintaining issues easy. The bike itself handles all settings, changes, and diagnostics, so why add one other piece to the equation?

The Altitude Powerplay’s battery life proved to be as promised. I used to be simply getting at the least 8 hours of journey time on a full cost, principally toggling between Trail and Trail Plus modes. The battery drains constantly as properly, so that you don’t blow by way of your final 25% sooner than the primary 25%. Battery charging was as fast as promised too, taking simply 4 hours for a full cost (with the 4A charger, included with most fashions).

Electrical Issues:

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, charging

Unfortunately, this spring, as I ready for my last journey on the Altitude Powerplay I encountered some electrical points. After the bike sat for a number of weeks (indoors) I charged the battery for 4 hours… and the bike wouldn’t activate! This was a one-time incident, and I can’t clarify why it occurred.

I totally charged the battery once more, and this time the bike turned on however the Jumbotron show confirmed 30% battery life. I tried to cost the battery three extra instances, and all through this, the battery life nonetheless confirmed at 30%. Since I needed to give the bike again very quickly, I took it for its final journey regardless of the problems. During this journey, the battery life began at 30% on the Jumbotron and seemed to be draining usually. Also, the bike carried out completely, helping by way of each energy degree because it all the time had.

After that journey, following Rocky Mountain’s directions, I eliminated the battery from the body. The battery itself has an LED indicator gentle and might be plugged straight into the charger, and once I linked them the battery’s LED instantly confirmed it had a 50-75% cost (not in step with the bike’s show). Within an hour the battery life confirmed at 75-100%, indicating that it was accepting a cost.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, error 157

RMB’s powerplay technician additionally instructed me to test the bike for error codes, and I discovered one. With the clicking of a few buttons, the diagnostic menu confirmed me I had produced an error 157. The description on the show mentioned the bike’s torque arm might be soiled, jammed, or broken. It additionally indicated that the torque sensor thought there was strain on the pedals when there wasn’t.

Somehow I by no means observed, however the bike ought to present an error code on its foremost display screen when it happens. I do know which journey I used to be on when it occurred, however I didn’t see the warning on the Jumbotron. Unfortunately, I’m unsure how I set off the error code.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, SF climbing, Vancouver

Being a rookie with eMTBs, I made an incorrect assumption at this level; I assumed the error 157 wanted to be handled earlier than the bike was protected to journey, however that’s not the case. If the calibration goes manner off, the bike could lag in delivering energy or reduce out periodically, however you gained’t harm something by persevering with to journey. In my case, I had no energy supply points on my final two check rides.

When an error 157 is produced, the bike’s diagnostics will instruct you to make sure the torque arm isn’t obstructed (I didn’t get that far earlier than returning the bike so I can’t clarify how to do this), then re-calibrate the bike (that half’s straightforward). Given that RMB didn’t discover any points with the torque arm, I seemingly might have simply re-calibrated the bike and resolved the error.

It’s necessary to know that the error code will stay within the error log after you’ve addressed the difficulty –they don’t disappear when the issue is corrected. Several error codes will stay within the log to help future diagnoses, which might be useful for mechanics, however leaves it a bit unclear when you the rider have resolved a problem. Logged error codes might be cleared, so I suppose you may erase them and see in the event that they return.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, battery

On my last check journey, I had one other downside with the show and battery not speaking. Throughout this journey, it regarded as if the battery wasn’t draining in any respect. After practically an hour of lapping hills totally in Ludicrous mode, I nonetheless had 100% cost displaying on the Jumbotron. A day later, I switched on the bike and the show confirmed 86%, which appeared correct.

Unfortunately, after the bike was given again RMB couldn’t replicate the communication points I had between the battery and Jumbotron, so the reason for that downside stays unknown. The excellent news is, there could solely be a small variety of early-production Altitude Powerplays that have this downside: While we have been diagnosing the problems, Rocky Mountain’s North American Tech Field Specialist Olivier Courchesne said in an electronic mail “…we are confident that this fluke would only apply to a limited run of the pre-production display.”

Regardless, it is undoubtedly regarding to have a problem with digital elements after lower than 200 km of using, on a bike that’s solely a few months outdated. To be honest to RMB each particular person I do know who owns an eMTB has had at the least one downside with their bike, however at far larger mileages than my points.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, cracked motor cover

While diagnosing {the electrical} points, I had one other unlucky incident happen. After eradicating and re-installing the motor cowl as soon as, it cracked as I used to be changing the higher bolt! The cowl wasn’t chilly on the time, and I used to be stunned to listen to the crack as I had simply began getting some buy on the bolt. I’m not vulnerable to over-tightening issues, so I need to warn Powerplay homeowners to be very mild with these bolts.


Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, SF, rocks, Pemberton

I arrange the Altitude Powerplay equally to different RMB bikes I’ve examined – I keep fairly near manufacturing unit really helpful settings, aside from working rebound on the sluggish facet. In the Altitude’s Fox Float X2 Performance rear shock, I had 178psi (Rocky’s linkage requires greater than your physique weight, I weigh 145lbs), with the LSC stored pretty low and the LSR proper within the center.

The Float X2 Performance shock presents Firm and Open settings. I discovered the Firm setting is perfect for the very best pedalling efficiency on roads or clean packed surfaces, however in any other case, I stored the shock Open for all my path using. Given the motor’s help, effectivity isn’t as essential as on a regular bike, so you possibly can get pleasure from a extra comfy journey with out your legs paying a worth.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, linkage

The Altitude Powerplay’s linkage does have one important distinction from different Rocky MTBs, and that’s the mid-high foremost pivot location. This change was clearly made to accommodate the motor, and it doesn’t give the Altitude Powerplay a vastly completely different journey than RMB’s different path/enduro bikes. That mentioned, the burden of the motorized bike does impact suspension really feel.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, SF, wood berm

With the additional weight of the electronics, the Altitude Powerplay’s small bump sensitivity and traction are higher than a regular path bike! Keeping your wheels glued to the bottom is simpler when it takes considerably extra effort for them to bounce or carry, so it’s best to typically count on a smoother and extra steady journey from an eMTB. On massive bumps and actually tough trails, the bike carried out at the least equally to the Altitude I examined throughout fall 2020, utilizing its beneficiant travel to eat up massive hits. Rocky’s rear finish doesn’t erase all feeling from the path beneath, however traces over massive bumps rapidly and retains your rear wheel caught down over uneven terrain. Even within the actually tough stuff, the added weight did translate into a barely extra planted journey.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, Ride 4 chip

As for progressivity, that is tunable with Rocky Mountain’s Ride 4 (or Ride 9) chipped bikes. I used to be using the Altitude Powerplay in its impartial place, which was acceptable for me. I’m not a heavy or super-rough rider so maintaining the development within the mid-setting permits me to make use of all of the bike’s travel on the toughest hits however nonetheless have enough mid-stroke help and bottom-out resistance.

Of course, the Powerplay’s weight does make the bike far much less poppy than RMB’s non-assisted bikes. When hopping over roots or popping off bumps, you don’t get a useful increase from the shock-like you do on the Instinct I reviewed final spring.


Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, SF climbing a road

The Altitude Powerplay’s geometry is updated and felt fairly comfy to me (I’m 5’10” and using a Medium body). I just like the beneficiant, however not loopy attain vary of 450-458mm. With the chainstay flip-chip rear finish size might be wherever from 436mm to 449mm, so you possibly can have no matter you need, from stubby to stretched.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, geometry chart

RMB’s angles are progressive, however not exterior the field. The Altitude Powerplay’s steering is definitely on the slacker finish, starting from 63.5° to 64.3°. The seat mast angle of 75.5-76.3° is typical for a fashionable enduro bike, leaning your weight over the entrance finish for a well-balanced journey. Rocky Mountain has undoubtedly honed their present geometry to supply that centered, ‘in the bike’ really feel that a path/enduro bike ought to present.

I rode the Altitude Powerplay with the Ride 4 chip in Pos. 3 (Neutral), giving me a attain of 455mm, a head tube angle of 64°, seat mast of 76°, and 437mm chainstays. This stored the BB a bit larger (perfect to keep away from crank/pedal strikes on the assisted bike) left the rear finish pretty brief, and appeared like the very best ‘do everything well’ choice for a bike I knew I’d be doing loads of climbing and traversing with.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, chainstay chip

After testing a number of current RMB bikes, I’ve performed with their chainstay adjustment chip and located it makes a palpable distinction to a bike’s dealing with. On the non-electric Altitude, I most popular the long mode because it solely emphasised the downhill capabilities of Rocky’s enduro race bike. However, I made a decision to maintain the Altitude Powerplay in its brief setting all through my check.

Given the help, I did extra climbing than I might on a common bike so it made sense to go away it in its nimbler chip place. The Altitude Powerplay is already a giant bike by any means, so there’s no lack of stability in any of its chip settings. That mentioned, when you’re utilizing this bike as a self-shuttle to thrash quick descents, you’ll seemingly want the long setting’s added stability.


Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, front end

Up entrance I’m working the 170mm Fox 38 Float EVOL Grip Performance fork with air strain and rebound ‘as recommended’, and with the compression extensive open. The fork’s efficiency simply met my expectations, providing clean bump absorption and no lack of stiffness, even on this beastly bike.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, brakes and derailleur

The Altitude Powerplay Carbon 70 comes with a Shimano XT drivetrain, which delivered crisp and dependable shifting all through my check. The XT Trail 4-piston brakes (with 203mm rotors) proved themselves on the eMTB; In spite of the bike’s weight, I simply rode usually, feeling no have to brake earlier into corners or squeeze the levers tougher than typical.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, tire w cush core

The WTB ST i30 TCS 2.0 wheels survived my testing with no dents or hops in both and solely a slight 1-2mm wobble within the rear. No doubt they have been helped out by the factory-installed Cush Core XC tire inserts, a very considerate inclusion for a cumbersome bike that’s constructed for tough using. As a lighter-weight rider, I don’t run inserts in my private bike however having them on the Altitude Powerplay gave me a lot of peace of thoughts as I thrashed down rocky trails. I undoubtedly observed the extra shock absorption they supply I don’t keep in mind a single important rim smash all through my testing. To high that off, RMB shares a confirmed set of triple-compound Maxxis Assegai/Minion DHR II treads, which offer tons of traction on all surfaces.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, cockpit

Having a 170mm dropper submit is nice for a Medium body, and whereas I’ve had reliability points with a number of RaceFace posts previously the Aeffect R mannequin on this bike labored fairly properly flawlessly. I’ve ridden many RMB bikes with WTB’s Volt saddles, and so they jive with my bottom simply wonderful.

Rocky Mountain provides the cockpit with their 780mm extensive, 38mm rise AM handlebar, and a 40mm AM stem. For an eMTB which is able to most likely encourage longer rides, it is smart to supply a comfy journey place with the upper handlebar however aggressive riders would possibly discover it a bit tall.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, SF, drop

Please excuse the blurry journey images – I used to be testing a new smartphone’s capabilities throughout this journey… I assume I’ll follow the DSLR for motion pictures!

Aside from {the electrical} points, I used to be very impressed with the Altitude Powerplay Carbon 70. The motor delivers loads of energy easily and predictably, the battery presents tons of journey time, and the digital features are straightforward to function. Put all this onto an enduro body with confirmed geometry and suspension, and also you’ve received one killer eMTB that may deal with any terrain.

MSRP for the 2022 Altitude Powerplay Carbon 70 is $9059 USD. Frame sizes S-XL can be found in both Cinnamon Girl/Black Dog/Love Me Tender (Orange/Black) or War Machine/Black Dog/Enter Sandman (Green/Black).

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