Words: Sean White Images: Ieuan Williams
If you’re unfamiliar with the potential of an e-mtb, then take a look at Dirt’s comprehensive study of this increasingly popular category of mountainbike HERE. We’ve been riding e-bikes alongside regular trail and enduro bikes for over two years now and have gained valuable experience, knowledge and opinion on what makes a good one. With this in mind, we check out Rocky Mountain’s Altitude Powerplay, one of the first 2018 e-mtbs to roll into Dirt HQ, along with the revised version of Trek’s Powerfly LT. This Rocky Mountain e-bike is currently only available in Europe.
Designed by Rocky Mountain in Canada, the Powerplay drive system is a sleek, lightweight, and powerful electric assist that they say pushes the boundaries of electric bikes. The compact, low-mounted motor allows Rocky Mountain to design an E-MTB around their suspension and handling standards. They can take into account up to date geometry and sizing along with an ideal pivot placement, rather than working with the (albeit proven) systems from Bosch, Brose, Yamaha and Shimano. Rocky Mountain believes that their proprietary system provides class-leading torque, quiet operation, instant power response, and quick charging times. Powerplay features ‘Instant Start’ technology using a sophisticated torque sensing circuit, which they say delivers a smooth, instant and natural feeling power. We’re keen to see how this newly developed tech compares to our established benchmark e-mtbs (and 2017 Dirt 100 picks) from Trek, Specialized, Merida, Cube and Cannondale. Will this Canadian made bike set a new benchmark for e-mtbs?
‘Rather than bolt on a bulky off-the-shelf system, we struck out on our own to redefine the category. The Powerplay system is the result of designing an electric drive for the suspension and geometry needs of proper mountain bikes’ – Alex Cogger, Rocky Mountain