Has Rocky Mountain just made the best new e-bikes for 2022? Going by the vital statistics of the Canadian brand’s new Altitude Powerplay and Instinct Powerplay, it could well have done.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay and Instinct Powerplay at a glance:

Rocky Mountain Altitude

  • 29in wheel enduro bike with 160mm travel and 170mm fork
  • In house Dyname 4.0 motor with 108Nm torque and 700W peak power
  • Max tire clearance 29×2.6in
  • Sizes: SM-XL

Rocky Mountain Instinct

  • 29in wheel trail bike with 140mm travel and 150mm fork
  • In house Dyname 4.0 motor with 108Nm torque and 700W peak power
  • Max tire clearance 29×2.6in
  • Sizes: SM-XL

The Altitude comes in both carbon and alloy, pictured here

Rocky has added its new Dyname 4.0 motor to two of its best electric mountain bikes, a power unit that’s been designed in house and delivers a huge 108Nm of torque and peak power output of 700W beating both Shimano and Bosch in the arms race by some 23Nm and 200W.

It’s not the huge power output that’s new about the Rocky Mountain motor though, it’s the weight and design. The Dyname 4.0 motor is also a claimed 18.5% lighter than the old Dyname 3.0 system and it’s more reliable and durable thanks to oversized bearings. And reliability might actually be further increased by the lower motor RPM from the new drive unit, which also reduces that whiney electrical noise that plagues all e-bikes to a lesser or greater degree.

Dyname 4.0 motor uses a high pivot idler to add power, and now it’s lighter and with greater efficiency and reliability

Rocky’s Dyname system uses a high pivot suspension design to provide the motorised power, and unusually a conventional BB and crankset. The pivot has shifted further aft in the design, and crucially this means Rocky has been able to remove the upper chain slider that helped tension the chain. With the slider gone there’s less drag and less noise when pedalling, Rocky says.

Power’s one thing, but it’s what you do with it that counts, right? Rocky Mountain says the new bikes have an instantaneous feel to that power, and a more natural ride feel. The old motor on the previous generation bikes certainly delivered that feeling. There’s a new power curve to the bikes now, gradually applying the power up to a maximum 700W at the optimal pedalling cadence of 85prm.

A variable power curve isn’t new, Bosch has one of the best deliveries through its e-mtb mode, but Rocky promises to deliver that power more quickly and responsively – super useful for techie climbs.

With all that power you’re going to be burning through the battery like nobody’s business, so Rocky has sensibly upped its capacity from 672Wh to 720Wh. The battery is removable, hidden behind a protective cover and released by a single retention bolt. How much does all this firepower weigh? The Altitude Powerplay Carbon 70 is a claimed 23.53 kg (51.9lb) in size large.

Battery for days, thanks to the new 720Wh version and range extender option

720Wh not enough for you? Rocky Mountain also has an external range extender battery with 314Wh, called the Overtimepack it’ll take the bike’s total oomph to 1,034Wh – that’s a big old chunk of time before you need a charge.

Speaking of charging, there are now two chargers for the Powerplay lineup, a fast 4-amp charger and a 2-amp version. The 2-amp charger will charge the battery from 0-100% in 7 hours and 35 minutes.

Screenwipe. The new display is integrated into the top tube

Integrated displays are all the rage now, and the new Altitude and Instinct use Rocky Mountain’s Jumbotron, integrated into the top tube. The bar remote has slimmed down too, the goal being to let it feel better and better fit around the rest of the bike’s bar furniture.

We rated the outgoing Powerplay models pretty highly, but the bikes’ geometry was a little conservative. The new Instinct and Altitude address that with a host of changes, not least with adjustable geometry via the brands RIDE-4 system.

Adjustable geometry, via flip chips on the shock and the chainstay

There are two flip chips in the frame that allow for four different geometry settings, and the chainstay length can be adjusted by as a much as 10mm. The Instinct Powerplay in size large has a decent 480mm reach, a 1262mm wheelbase and 437mm chainstays, all in its neutral geometry setting.

The prices are in dollars for now, we’ll let you know UK pricing when we have it.

  • Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition: $13,129 CAD / $10,649 USD
  • Altitude Powerplay Carbon 70: $11,339 CAD / $9,059 USD
  • Altitude Powerplay Alloy 70: $9,239 CAD / $7,779 USD
  • Altitude Powerplay Alloy 50: $8,399 CAD / $6,999 USD
  • Altitude Powerplay Alloy 30 Coil: $7,349 CAD / $5,749 USD
  • Instinct Powerplay Carbon 90: $14,699 CAD / $12,039 USD
  • Instinct Powerplay Carbon 70: $11,549 CAD / $9,159 USD
  • Instinct Powerplay Alloy 70: $8,819 CAD / $7,459 USD
  • Instinct Powerplay Alloy 50: $7,769 CAD / $6,499 USD
  • Instinct Powerplay Alloy 30: $6,929 CAD / $5,599 USD