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Sven Martin, Joe Bowman and Duncan Philpott have combed the depths of the social serengeti to bring you another weekly installment of #vitalgramcentral. Dig on in for your double-tapping fix.

Social media as a whole has become one of the most deployed and demanded means of marketing in the MTB industry. Cruise through a World Cup pit just after practice has finished and you'll hear the thud of fingers tapping as athletes feed their followers with the daily injection of their lives. Never has there been a time where fans can glean such insight into the lives of the top MTB athletes, both on and off the bike. Magazine-worthy action photos, selfies from the workout room and post-race hijinx sprinkle the digital landscape of our favorite two-wheelers.

Success on the bike doesn't necessarily reflect success in the social universe, however. Oddly enough, some racers with the best results  have struggled to develop much of a following (yet). Is Jared Graves too busy staying fit to care about endless sponsor-plug hashtags? Is Loic Bruni too focused on that Leogang corner to to double-tap his way to the top? The one and only Gee Atherton doesn't even have an Instagram account. Maybe he likes Snapchat instead. On the other hand, savvy riders out there have grabbed their fan's phones by the gramballs and fuel the masses with quality/daily content, like Caroline Buchanan or Sam Pilgrim. Among the men, freeriders, it appears, are the rockstars of the sport. Compared to Kelly Slater or Travis Pastrana who are nearing the 1-million follower mark and Ryan Sheckler who has surpassed 1-milion, it's safe to say MTB is just a trickle in the mainstream...for now.

The future is bright for athletes with social media awareness using the on-the-fly conduit for keeping both fans and sponsor happy. From a media nerd's point of view, is the 15-second clip enough to keep the people happy in years to come? Maybe full-length MTB movies will disappear along with our attention spans. Either way it's exciting times out there on the digital frontier. -joebow

Top 10 MTB Athletes on Instagram*


  1. Danny Macaskill - 80000 followers - @danny_macaskill
  2. Brandon Semenuk - 78500 - @brandonsemenuk
  3. Cam Zink - 68560 - @camzink
  4. Andreu Lacondeguy - 55400 - @andreulacondeguy
  5. Sam Hill - 55100 - @samhill13
  6. Josh Bryceland - 51800 - @ratboy_bryce
  7. Martin Soderstrom - 51400 - @martinsoederstroem
  8. Steve Peat - 51280 - @stevepeat
  9. Aaron Gwin - 50530 - @aarongwin1
  10. Sam Pilgrim - 44540 - @sampilgrim


  1. Rachel Atherton - 33000 followers - @rachybox
  2. Caroline Buchannan - 24075 - @cbuchanan68
  3. Emily Batty - 15500 - @emilybatty1
  4. Tahnee Seagrave - 14520 - @tahneeseagrave
  5. Manon Carpenter - 12225 - @manoncarpenter
  6. Tracey Hannah - 10051 - @littletrace13
  7. Jolanda Neff - 9288 - @jolandaneff
  8. Hannah Barnes - 9100 - @hannahbarnes66
  9. Micayla Gatto - 8402 - @micaylagatto
  10. Rachel Throop - 8092 - @rachel_throop

* This is anything but scientific, so apologies to anyone we couldn't think of in the MTB world, especially if you should be in this list. If we missed you and your hordes of followers, leave a #vitalgramcentral tag in a post to alert us.

Let's look at some of the first images and some of the top images from these social slinging superstars.

@danny_macaskill’s first post scores over 2,200 likes with an image of himself simply stating that it's his account. With a lot of posers out there, sometimes this is necessary. Danny, tops the most-followed MTBers list in just 9 months! #viral

Danny's latest film, The Ridge, by @cutmedia broke 20+ million YouTube views no sweat. Don't look down Danny, this is your most-liked shot and everyone is climbing up after you.

Danny's second most-liked image. This is the beauty of Instagram. Anything goes and often the unexpected or the #fails are the most entertaining.

@brandonsemenuk, kicked off his Instacampaign 3-years ago in fine, raw, heavily-filtered, non-commercialized, drunk-bro-shot form.

Semenuk may be a little shy, but why bother being a lad when you can do shit like this on a bicycle?

Second most-liked image for Semenuk with 10.6K. Creatively-planned projects with both filmers and photographers (@gibbymtbphoto) makes Semenuk a gem to both his fans and sponsors.

@emilybatty1 is high on the most-followed female MTBer list. This most recent post of her hucking into some frosty  singletrack is also her most popular so far.

@ratboy_bryce has a special kind of humor, unique to him alone. Most-liked.

Remember that unique humor we were talking about? Ratty never lies about who he is and he’s happy to piss on himself.

@camzink #nfg in his early days of Instagram. And in the words of andrwtaylr himself, “at least you’re well hydrated."

Every time Zink drops in, drops an edit or drops anything for that matter, most people get a little scared and excited at the same time. 100-ft 3-inches during his world record flip at Mammoth Mountain. #manylikes

@martinsoederstroem has lots of photos of jumps, bikes, Red Bull helmets and other slopestylie things, but this stood out like a sore thumb.

@andreulacondeguy is the boy… There are a lot of #selfies in his early posts, however this pic sporting the little pink Crocs has to be a winner. Note the subtle branding, too. Kids dig subtle branding.

@samhill13 Insta-classic shot by @viktorfotomaker during a World Champs winning-turned-losing run. Interesting how often the most-liked images are of crashes and #fails.

With brother Gee not giving into the demands of the social media masses, @rachybox has to share the wealth. Her most-liked shot? This selfie with Geeman, post-Hafjell World Champs. Awww.

Watching @cbuchanan68 rip 'round the Crankworx Pump Track race was pretty rad this summer. Quality, daily shots from a social media-savvy top rider. #onit

Insta hits of the Week

@camp4collective @joeyschusler and @timkemple drop an edit for the ages. Just when we thought Joey was getting all deep and introspective as a true soul rider, this king-sized cut reminds us that MTB is still fun and Joey is the man up for anything. Slayer doesn't hurt either.

So you don't have 3 RED cameras and a helicopter at your disposal? Then figure out a way to entertain. @mattjwalker doing it right. Sponsor plugs galore but leaves us wanting more. He went on to win the 440 Enduro race that day. #allinadayswork

Temperatures and @jordielunn plummet in Canada. Mary Lou Retton, watch your back.

@anneke_beerten making #endurogainz in the gym. Not only is she faster than you on a bike, she can probably lift more than you, too.

@andreulacondeguy getting in the mood for ski season with a little steep and deep!

Testing with his new teammate, @brendog1 captured by the iPhone slo-mo. Brendog would have been up on the most-followed list, but he forgot the login details of his healthy account and had to start a fresh account. #thingsfreeracersdo

#blackandwhitephotochallenge images still going strong. Here is a standout from @scottserfas. The quality of what you see on the web these days is pretty insane.

After a week of black and white posts, @svenmartinphoto was pumped to shoot some color mimicking the New Zealand spring conditions with @lord_cunny

@wynmasters #wheeliewednesday, always worth a watch

Once again @sensusgrips winning the weekly marketing challenge.

We're still waiting on a reply from @iamspecialized on what @mattyhunter's job is and where we can apply for it.

Like surfing, skating and snowboarding, it often takes a good team to get great images. @johnwellburn and @jamesdoerfling are such a pair. They don't mess about with little tricks and fisheyes. Giant landscapes, chutes and drops only from this dynamic duo.

Taking this week's winning post with the #vitalgramcentral tag is this blast from the past. @mt_rides shredding 20 years ago. The photoquality is about as questionable as the attire. Keep the uploads coming.

If you have an Instagram post you'd like Sven, Duncan or Joe to check out, use the hashtag #VitalGramCentral and make their jobs that much easier.

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