Evaluate: Rocky Mountain Bikes’ 2022 Altitude Powerplay is a robust, lengthy journey beast

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

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 advised the bike needed to be despatched elsewhere so I headed to Vancouver’s snow-free trails for a remaining take a look at journey. And on the final minute, issues received attention-grabbing…

2022 Altitude Powerplay – Key Specs:

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, side

There’s rather 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 Intuition Powerplay bikes.

To sum it up rapidly, the Altitude Powerplay presents very comparable geometry to the non-powered Altitude so it’s absolutely up-to-date with sizing and angles. Due to its Experience 4 chip and chainstay flip-chip, there’s a powerful vary of geo fiddling that may take the bike from enduro sled to backcountry explorer with a number of 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.

Experience Impressions – Electronics:

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, motor

Let’s begin with crucial a part of the eMTB’s digital parts: the motor. I began out driving the Altitude Powerplay as an eMTB rookie, so I positively put this factor to the smoothness take a look at! This bike taught me the totally different cadence and pedalling strategies required for driving eMTBs at their greatest, and its easy energy supply dealt with my preliminary hacking impressively nicely.

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

As soon as I received aware of the bike, it was mainly faultless by way of predictability and applicable energy supply. The Altitude Powerplay does an ideal job of offering increase on the proper time, so so long as you’re close to the perfect gear this bike will assist you stand up nearly something. I didn’t even alter the response degree or total Enhance ranges, and I’m unsure I’d ever really feel the necessity because the manufacturing facility settings felt nice. It’s at all times good to have that possibility, although.

After my brief studying curve, the Altitude Powerplay by no means shocked 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 take care of help from the motor. I additionally seen the bike dealt with speedy up/down terrain predictably and reliably, switching on and off simply as you’d anticipate 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’s positively ludicrous!).

Regardless of all that energy, the brand new Dyname 4.0 motor runs quietly. I rode with a number of different eMTBs (together with Specialised and Commencal) and seen the others have been louder by comparability. It’s not like you’ll be able to’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 concern determining any changes, calibration, or setup with the Altitude Powerplay (and I’m not a tech genius). RMB’s system is straightforward, with the whole lot managed by the Micro Distant on the handlebar and the only button on the ‘Jumbotron’ high tube display. There are a number of important show display choices that prioritise totally 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 shortage of an app, however I’m a fan of retaining 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 a minimum of 8 hours of journey time on a full cost, principally toggling between Path and Path Plus modes. The battery drains persistently as nicely, so that you don’t blow by means of your final 25% quicker 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 Points:

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, charging

Sadly, this spring, as I ready for my remaining 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 absolutely 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. Throughout this journey, the battery life began at 30% on the Jumbotron and gave the impression to be draining usually. Additionally, the bike carried out completely, helping by means of each energy degree because it at all times 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 may be plugged immediately into the charger, and after I linked them the battery’s LED instantly confirmed it had a 50-75% cost (not according to the bike’s show). Inside 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 advised me to test the bike for error codes, and I discovered one. With the clicking of some buttons, the diagnostic menu confirmed me I had produced an error 157. The outline on the show stated the bike’s torque arm might be soiled, jammed, or broken. It additionally indicated that the torque sensor thought there was stress on the pedals when there wasn’t.

One way or the other I by no means seen, however the bike ought to present an error code on its important display 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. Sadly, 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 approach off, the bike could lag in delivering energy or minimize 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 take a look at 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 try this), then re-calibrate the bike (that half’s straightforward). On condition that RMB didn’t discover any points with the torque arm, I probably may have simply re-calibrated the bike and resolved the error.

It’s vital 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. A number of error codes will stay within the log to help future diagnoses, which might be useful for mechanics, however leaves it a bit unclear in case you the rider have resolved a problem. Logged error codes may be cleared, so I suppose you possibly can erase them and see in the event that they return.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, battery

On my remaining take a look at journey, I had one other downside with the show and battery not speaking. All through this journey, it appeared as if the battery wasn’t draining in any respect. After almost an hour of lapping hills totally in Ludicrous mode, I nonetheless had 100% cost exhibiting on the Jumbotron. A day later, I switched on the bike and the show confirmed 86%, which appeared correct.

Sadly, 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: Whereas we have been diagnosing the problems, Rocky Mountain’s North American Tech Area Specialist Olivier Courchesne said in an electronic mail “…we’re assured that this fluke would solely apply to a restricted run of the pre-production show.”

Regardless, it’s positively regarding to have a problem with digital parts after lower than 200 km of driving, on a motorbike that’s just a few months previous. To be truthful to RMB each particular person I do know who owns an eMTB has had a minimum of one downside with their bike, however at far increased mileages than my points.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, cracked motor cover

Whereas 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 quilt wasn’t chilly on the time, and I used to be shocked to listen to the crack as I had simply began getting some buy on the bolt. I’m not liable to over-tightening issues, so I have to warn Powerplay house owners to be very light with these bolts.

Suspension:

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 facility advisable settings, apart from operating rebound on the sluggish aspect. Within the Altitude’s Fox Float X2 Efficiency 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 Efficiency shock presents Agency and Open settings. I discovered the Agency setting is right for the perfect pedalling efficiency on roads or easy packed surfaces, however in any other case, I stored the shock Open for all my path driving. Given the motor’s help, effectivity isn’t as essential as on a standard bike, so you’ll be able to take pleasure in a extra snug journey with out your legs paying a value.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, linkage

The Altitude Powerplay’s linkage does have one vital distinction from different Rocky MTBs, and that’s the mid-high important pivot location. This transformation was clearly made to accommodate the motor, and it doesn’t give the Altitude Powerplay a vastly totally different journey than RMB’s different path/enduro bikes. That stated, the burden of the motorized bike does affect 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 standard path bike! Maintaining your wheels glued to the bottom is less complicated when it takes considerably extra effort for them to bounce or raise, so you must usually anticipate a smoother and extra steady journey from an eMTB. On large bumps and actually tough trails, the bike carried out a minimum of equally to the Altitude I examined throughout fall 2020, utilizing its beneficiant journey to eat up large hits. Rocky’s rear finish doesn’t erase all feeling from the path beneath, however traces over large bumps rapidly and retains your rear wheel caught down over uneven terrain. Even within the actually tough stuff, the added weight did translate right into a barely extra planted journey.

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, Ride 4 chip

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

In fact, 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 Intuition I reviewed final spring.

Geometry:

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, SF climbing a road

The Altitude Powerplay’s geometry is updated and felt fairly snug to me (I’m 5’10” and driving a Medium body). I just like the beneficiant, however not loopy attain vary of 450-458mm. With the chainstay flip-chip rear finish size may be wherever from 436mm to 449mm, so you’ll be able to 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 contemporary enduro bike, leaning your weight over the entrance finish for a well-balanced journey. Rocky Mountain has positively honed their present geometry to supply that centered, ‘within the bike’ really feel {that a} path/enduro bike ought to present.

I rode the Altitude Powerplay with the Experience 4 chip in Pos. 3 (Impartial), 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 increased (very best to keep away from crank/pedal strikes on the assisted bike) left the rear finish pretty brief, and appeared like the perfect ‘do the whole lot nicely’ possibility for a motorbike 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 motorbike’s dealing with. On the non-electric Altitude, I most popular the lengthy mode because it solely emphasised the downhill capabilities of Rocky’s enduro race bike. Nevertheless, I made a decision to maintain the Altitude Powerplay in its brief setting all through my take a look at.

Given the help, I did extra climbing than I might on an everyday bike so it made sense to depart it in its nimbler chip place. The Altitude Powerplay is already a big bike by any means, so there’s no lack of stability in any of its chip settings. That stated, in case you’re utilizing this bike as a self-shuttle to thrash quick descents, you’ll probably choose the lengthy setting’s added stability.

Parts:

Rocky Mountain Bikes 2022 Altitude Powerplay, front end

Up entrance I’m operating the 170mm Fox 38 Float EVOL Grip Efficiency fork with air stress and rebound ‘as advisable’, and with the compression large open. The fork’s efficiency simply met my expectations, providing easy 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 take a look at. The XT Path 4-piston brakes (with 203mm rotors) proved themselves on the eMTB; Regardless of the bike’s weight, I simply rode usually, feeling no must brake earlier into corners or squeeze the levers tougher than normal.

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. Little doubt they have been helped out by the factory-installed Cush Core XC tire inserts, a really considerate inclusion for a cumbersome bike that’s constructed for tough driving. As a lighter-weight rider, I don’t run inserts in my private bike however having them on the Altitude Powerplay gave me lots of peace of thoughts as I thrashed down rocky trails. I positively seen the extra shock absorption they supply I don’t keep in mind a single vital 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 put up 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 nicely flawlessly. I’ve ridden many RMB bikes with WTB’s Volt saddles, they usually jive with my bottom simply effective.

Rocky Mountain provides the cockpit with their 780mm large, 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 cushty 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 pictures – I used to be testing a brand new smartphone’s capabilities throughout this journey… I assume I’ll stick with the DSLR for motion pictures!

Apart 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 capabilities 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. Body sizes S-XL can be found in both Cinnamon Lady/Black Canine/Love Me Tender (Orange/Black) or Battle Machine/Black Canine/Enter Sandman (Inexperienced/Black).

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