With redesigned frames, new motors, bigger batteries and shrunken handlebar remotes, Rocky Mountain Bikes has a lot to show off with their 2022 Powerplay lineup. RMB has introduced a new Dyname 4.0 drive system for the Altitude and Instinct Powerplay, which offers the same impressive output as the previous Dyname 3.0 motor in a smaller and lighter package.
The new Altitude Powerplay jumps from 27.5” to 29” wheels, and I’ve been test riding one already… This article covers all the key info on what’s new with both bikes and their Dyname 4.0 drive systems, plus I’ve included some early impressions of how the 2022 Altitude Powerplay rides.
Dyname 4.0 Drive System:
The new Dyname 4.0 drive system is designed to be powerful, offer lots of torque, and last the test of time. The motor’s generous output ensures fast climbing and punchy acceleration, and Rocky Mountain claims the system’s naturally responsive power delivery gives their bikes the best ride feel available.
With 700w peak output and 108Nm of torque the 4.0 matches the previous Dyname 3.0 motor in power, but the 4.0 version is smaller and 18.5% lighter. Despite the weight savings, the new motor has upgraded to larger bearings for increased driveline durability.
The Dyname 4.0 motor eliminates the 3.0’s upper chain slider and the idler has been moved rearwards, reducing noise and more importantly reducing drag when pedalling. The 4.0 motor also runs at lower RPM’s than other eMTB motors, keeping whining noise to a minimum.
The Dyname 4.0 drive system’s torque sensor reads how much tension is being applied to the chain, so the motor can provide an instant response to pedalling efforts. The above charts show how the Dyname 4.0’s power both ramps up and cuts out quickly, assisting when needed and backing off ASAP when not.
The motor’s output follows a torque curve that provides maximum power at a cadence of 85rpm, and tapers off at lower speeds so you’re not boosting out of control in tight switchbacks or low-speed situations.
The Powerplay bikes offer four levels of assist – Eco, Trail, Trail Plus and Ludicrous (that’s right Spaceballs fans)! Of course, the motor’s output is customizable: ‘Boost Level’ adjusts torque sensitivity, or in other words how much pressure you have to put on the pedals versus how much response you get from the motor. The output of each assist level is also adjustable; you simply fine-tune the levels by choosing what percentage of available power you prefer for each. Furthermore, riders can create and save two tune profiles, allowing quick and easy setup for different riders or varying terrain.
The Powerplay bikes now feature a larger 720Wh battery to replace the outgoing 672Wh unit. If that’s still not enough wattage, the bikes are compatible with RMB’s Overtimepack, which adds another 314Wh of capacity (1034Wh total). The battery can easily be pulled out the 2022 frames by simply removing the cover and one retaining bolt.
Rocky Mountain has two different chargers for the new bikes, a 2A and a 4A. The less powerful 2A fully charges the battery in 7hrs 35mins, while the 4A charger only takes 4hrs. The 2A battery charger comes with the Instinct and Altitude Alloy 30 models, but all the others include the faster 4A charger.
RMB’s Jumbotron display screen, conveniently located on the top tube, shows you whatever key info or metrics you’d like to see as you pedal along. The handlebar remote can be used to toggle through the screen’s various views and configuration modes for adjusting assist levels, etc.
The Powerplay bikes’ handlebar remote unit has been updated for 2022. It now offers better ergonomics and is smaller, to allow more compatibility with various shifters and brakes.
Instinct vs. Altitude:
Much like their non-powered counterparts, the Altitude and Instinct Powerplay share some design similarities yet have different ride characteristics and intentions: The 140/150mm Instinct was crafted as a highly efficient pedaller for all-day trail rambling, while the 160/170mm Altitude is optimized for fast, aggressive enduro-style riding. Both roll on 29” wheels for 2022.
Both the Smoothwall carbon and FORM alloy frames feature redesigned shapes and profiles to match RMB’s latest releases. One thing to note is only the Altitude Carbon 90 Rally Edition, Instinct Carbon 90 and Instinct Carbon 70 models come with carbon rear triangles; all other models have alloy rear ends. Generally the new bikes have a slimmer overall look, but the frames were designed to offer increased front end stiffness. Like some other models, the Powerplay bikes also now run dual bearings in the chainstay/seatstay junction to keep things stiff out back. All frame pivots rotate on shielded bearings.
The Instinct and Altitude have received similar tuning updates: Their revised Smoothlink linkages feature a mid-high main pivot that provides a more supportive leverage curve than previous models, and adequate anti-squat to ensure efficient power delivery to the rear wheel. The new linkage on both bikes also follows a more rearward axle path to help smooth over smaller bumps. Rocky Mountain also offers size-specific shock tunes, so the out-of-the-box bike setup should be in the ballpark for any rider.
Both Powerplay bikes come with RMB’s Ride 4 Chip, which provides four shock mounting positions that affect the bike’s geometry and suspension rate. Check out the geo chart to see all the little changes the positions make, but generally speaking moving one way makes the bike slacker/lower/more progressive and the opposite makes it steeper/higher/more linear.
The 2022 Powerplay bikes also get RMB’s new chainstay flip-chip, which provides 10mm of adjustment so you can maximize high-speed stability or err on the side of nimbler handling. The new bikes feature a RMB derailleur hanger, and in long mode they’re also compatible with SRAM’s universal derailleur hanger. The dropout hardware includes a 200mm brake mount (Shimano equipped models are spaced to 203mm) that flips around to work in Long or Short mode.
Both the Instinct and Altitude Powerplay frames can accommodate up to 29×2.6” treads. The frame plugs (carbon or aluminum) pinch the cables/hoses in place, and internal cable trays keep everything secure and rattle-free inside. The bikes can easily be set up moto-style for international riders.
RMB includes a downtube guard, shuttle guard, and noise-cancelling chainstay guard to fend off frame damage.
A look at the geo charts below reveals how the two Powerplay bikes differ, with the Altitude beckoning for aggressive terrain and the Instinct maintaining a balanced stance for all-around trail riding.
Both the Altitudes and Instincts offer five different models, with two carbon frame options and three aluminum builds. Hop over to RMB’s website for full specs on each, but one nice inclusion I’ll point out is a pair of pre-installed Cush Core tire inserts come on the Altitude Carbon 90 Rally Edition, Carbon 70, and Alloy 70.
Altitudes come in two colorways: Cinnamon Girl/Black Dog/Love Me Tender or War Machine/Black Dog/Enter Sandman. The Instincts are available in two colors as well: Satellite/Cherry Bomb/Eye of the Tiger and Beyond the Sea/UD Carbon/Black Dog. Please note certain models only offer one color.
- Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition: $10,649 USD
- Altitude Powerplay Carbon 70: $9,059 USD
- Altitude Powerplay Alloy 70: $7,779 USD
- Altitude Powerplay Alloy 50: $6,999 USD
- Altitude Powerplay Alloy 30 Coil: $5,749 USD
- Instinct Powerplay Carbon 90: $12,039 USD
- Instinct Powerplay Carbon 70: $9,159 USD
- Instinct Powerplay Alloy 70: $7,459 USD
- Instinct Powerplay Alloy 50: $6,499 USD
- Instinct Powerplay Alloy 30: $5,599 USD
2022 Altitude Powerplay – Initial Ride Impressions:
My time with the Altitude Powerplay has been limited, so I can’t go into much detail (yet…) but here are my initial impressions of how it handles on the trails…
I do find the Dyname 4.0 drive system assists in a very predictable and natural way. Generally I’ve found the bike provides power when I want and I haven’t fooled it into erring with my hack ‘normal bike’ pedalling prowess. Aside from a few wet roots and rocks, my rear wheel has reliably found traction and with the right cadence the power delivery has been very smooth and definitely ample in higher settings.
I’m still getting myself dialed into the bike, but I find Eco mode is fine for assisting you to the trailhead and on flat traverses, yet I’d guess most riders would climb most singletrack trails in Trail or Trail Plus. Trail mode provides enough boost to make your ride a lot easier per mile, but Trail Plus is where you start enjoying the real eMTB fun! Shooting up steep pitches and railing corners uphill is no problem in Trail Plus… I haven’t even tried Ludicrous mode yet, but I can’t wait to speed up a few trails as my test continues!
As for battery life, I’m getting roughly 8 hours of riding time on a full charge. On my first couple rides I was mostly using Trail mode, but I tapped into Trail Plus a lot more on my third ride and it didn’t drain the battery drastically more by comparison. I haven’t played with all the electronic adjustments yet, but basic operations on the bike have proven to be pretty simple.
The Altitude Powerplay shares the same frame geometry as the Altitude, and it fits like a modern enduro bike. I’m on a medium frame, and I like the generous reach of 455mm (in neutral position). I haven’t tried the long chainstay setting yet, but since the e-bike’s extra weight adds a lot of stability to the ride, I suspect I might prefer Short mode to keep the handling on the sharp side.
That’s about all I can say for now, but I’ll be keeping the Altitude Powerplay for a little while longer… For all the details on the new Powerplay bikes visit RMB’s website.