Wade Simmons' horizons have been e-xpanded.

Watch freeride legend Wade Simmons doing things on a Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay that he couldn’t do on a regular bike.

Wade Simmons: “Climbing, descending, XC, freeride, e-bikes, whatever. I live for it all, and I was excited to be a part of this. And maybe a little part of me likes rocking the boat.

“I was blown away. My exhausted, delirious enthusiasm in the film is genuine. That moment is me realizing that the possibilities of e-bikes are truly endless.

“The next day, we find this perfectly scooped wallride that just begged to be ridden, but it has a rough, slightly uphill approach. ‘I’m hitting that,’ I call it out the moment I see it, but in truth I’m not sure it’ll work. I put in a few cranks and carve the whole thing first try.

rocky mountain altitude powerplay

Pic: Matt Wragg

“What surprised me most was how the added power opened up new possibilities everywhere. I was able to keep things flowing and link that wallride up with all kinds of other features. This zone was too damn fun.

“This trip shined a new light on mountain biking for me. There is a paradigm shift underway. I feel like we’ve only started to scratch the surface of what’s possible. Throughout this trip I realized I wasn’t riding an eMTB to make my riding any easier, I was riding an eMTB to open doors to things a regular bike couldn’t. This old dog is learning some new tricks, finding new lines on old trails, and having a blast. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here!”

Rocky Mountain built their own motor for Altitude Powerplay e-MTB

The most normal looking e-MTB yet?

The Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay uses a motor designed by Rocky Mountain themselves. The result is just like an Altitude but with pedal assist.

rocky mountain altitude powerplay

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay need to know

  • 150mm travel electric enduro bike
  • 160mm suspension fork
  • Same geometry as regular Altitude (65.6° head angle, 74.6° seat angle)
  • Boost 148
  • 1x drivetrain specific
  • 27.5 x 2.5in Wide Trail tyres (or 26 x 3.0in if you’re into that sort of thing)
  • Powerplay 250W 48v motor
  • 500Wh or massive 632Wh battery options
  • Still made in Canada (well, the bike frame is)
  • 47.6-49.1 lb claimed weights
  • £5,499-£8,499 prices

rocky mountain altitude powerplay

Powerplay motor

Opting to shun the motor offerings from Shimano or Bosch is a bold move and it’s one to be applauded for it looks like it’s been done with sound reasoning rather than recalcitrance.

The Rocky Mountain Powerplay motor is actually based on a third generation motor that’s been in development since 2010. So this is no rush job. The motor accepts a standard Race Face bottom bracket and crankset (or indeed any PF92 system by the look s of it).

rocky mountain altitude powerplay

Why make your own motor? Basically, to make the back-end geometry the same as the normal Rocky Mountain Altitude. The motor sits significantly further forward in the front triangle than other motor designs.

So there are no whoppingly long chain stays here (425mm on the Powerplay). Or indeed any lower slung BB heights. The geometry of the Altitude Powerplay is the same as the standard Altitude.

rocky mountain altitude powerplay

The motor also has some neat claims beyond its compact and forward-situated design. It features an torque sensor (that oversized jockey wheel in the pic above) that senses when the chain gets tighter and the motor serves up more assist power. It claims to feel more natural and instinctive.

There is also minimal drag once you reach speeds where the motor assist cuts off (25kmph) thanks to a crankset clutch and the absence of the usual e-bike gearbox found on other motors.

The batteries sport some impressively swift charge times. One hour forty minutes to get to 80% full from empty with the standard 500Wh battery (or 2hrs to 80% with the 632Wh).