We’ve previously ridden Rocky Mountain Powerplay bikes, both the Instinct and the Altitude. Before riding the Instinct we were wondering, was it a less burly and more versatile bike, or a more aggressive bike? It turned out it could be both, thanks to the adjustable geometry. Scroll to the end if you prefer a video review.
The bike on test is called B.C, short for British Columbia. The B.C. name means the bike is optimized for descending. There is no adjustable frame geometry here, the bike seems to be fixed in the lowest and slackest setting. The Instinct Powerplay has been around for a few years, and the frame geometry isn’t the most “progressive”. We don’t think it looks out-dated, but the frame is perhaps a tad short compared to the new bikes. Our test bike has a wheelbase of 1220 mm, that’s not very long for a size Large. Chainstay length is 443 mm. This is short for a 29er bike and it contributes to the slightly short wheelbase. The 65.9* head angle is fine, but new bikes tend to have a slacker angle.
We quite like the kit on the BC A50. It’s got a Shimano Deore M6100 groupset with a 12-speed drivetrain and nice M6120 dual caliper brakes. The 150 mm dropper seatpost moves the saddle well out of the way. It’s nice to see the Maxxis MaxxGrip tyres with the DoubleDown casing on this bike. Minion DHF 29×2.5″ front and Minion DHR ll 29×2.4 at the back. These are solid tyres that helps the bike feeling calm and settled on rough trails.
The Instinct BC Powerplay has got a Rockshocx Lyrik RC fork, offering 160 mm of suspension travel. This is the entry level model in the Lyrik lineup. It works well, although the more expensive models are of course more refined. The 155 mm travel rear suspension is controlled by the Fox DPX2 Performance, This is a nice shock, often found on more expensive bikes.
The price on the Rocky Mountain Instinct BC A50 isn’t too bad. At least not where we live. Sure U$ 5,899 is quite a chunk of money. But in today’s market, prices are up and availability is low. The Norwegian distributor tells us Rocky Mountain Powerplay bikes are currently available.
The Dyname 3.0 motor has been around for almost 5 years and it has seen some improvements over the years. First time we rode the motor we heard some drive train noise. Behind the motor cover, the chain is led through some cogs and pulleys. Two of these cog wheels have since been altered and noise is reduced. The Dyname 3.0 is a different and interesting motor. It is only active as long there is pressure on the pedals. If we stop pedaling for just a fraction of a second, the motor cuts the power immediately. Some motors will keep the power on for a short while, this evens out the power to the rear wheel. The Dyname 3.0 doesn’t do that. This is a powerful motor that is easily controlled on rough trails, but it can take a bit of getting used to. Check out our review of the motor:
The big 672 Wh battery is built in to the frame and cannot be removed easily. There is also the “Overtime Pack”, a 330Wh range extender that can be bought separately.
Instinct BC Powerplay on the trails
Despite the short rear end, the bike climbs very well. It’s easy keeping the front wheel planted to the ground, even in the steepest sections. The front of the bikes feels pretty heavy. We assume it’s because the downtube is filled with batteries almost up to the head tube. The Instinct BC Powerplay isn’t as lively on the flatter trails as the Instinct non-BC. And that is to be expected. Again we notice the front end being somewhat heavy. The bike doesn’t inspire us to play and bounce about at lower speeds.
We weighed the bike to 25.7 kg pedals included. The weight is holding us back a bit on the flatter terrain, but not on the hills. Instinct BC Powerplay feels steady and confidence inspiring on the descents. Now the burly tires and the Fox shock comes into it’s own. The rear end in particular feels calm and composed over both chatter and bigger hits. We let go of the brakes in rocky sections and the bike is comfortable and tracks well. But it takes some effort getting air borne.
The Instinct Powerplay BC is a bike worthy of the BC name. Rocky Mountain is focusing on the down hill performance, and the Instinct BC comes to life as the speed increases. And it’s no worse on the climbs. The bike climbs well thanks to the powerful motor that is easily controlled. And thanks to the big battery, it can keep climb for a long time. We think the price of the Instinct Powerplay BC A50 is quite good. $ 5,899 US gets you a well spec’ed bike with one of the bigger batteries on the market.