Cognito Motorsports' Justin Lambert Brings Two Custom Yamaha Rhino to SEMA

 
 
Cognito Motorsports' Yamaha Rhino R1
Cognito Motorsports' Yamaha Rhino R1
The Yamaha Rhino is a utility side by side vehicle that brings recreation and utility into one vehicle for families across America. Let someone like Justin Lambert from Cognito Motorsports get their hands on one and it truns into a fire breathing dragon.
Yamaha Rhino R1 Utility Side by Side
Yamaha Rhino R1 Utility Side by Side


Lambert comes from a background in high performance early on. His father builds racing engines, drag cars, and drag boats so he grew up going fast and being very competitive. He has been custom building since a teenager working in his father's shop building a dragster chassis, sheet metal panels, and machining parts on a mill and lathe. After college he started his own business building suspension systems mainly for GM trucks and SUV's. He bought the Yamaha Rhino in 2007 and built long travel suspension for it and used the car as a marketing tool for the next couple years. Of course he needed more power so the engine was definitely getting some modifications.
Yamaha Rhino R1 in Cognito Motorsports' SEMA Booth
Yamaha Rhino R1 in Cognito Motorsports' SEMA Booth


The problem is, the Rhino engine just would not live long enough while making that much more horsepower than the stock. Lambert decided to swap the engine in the Rhino. There were several options he looked at, but his Yamaha R1 engine choice was influenced by the SR1 UTV class which had pretty much launched in the 2009 racing season.
Yamaha Rhino with R1 motor
Yamaha Rhino with R1 motor
The other benefit of using the R1 is that they make plenty of power in stock uniform and replacements are much cheaper than rebuilding a Rhino engine. An R1 engine is usually easy to find from motorcycle dismantlers.

This R1 Yamaha Rhino has been custom built from the factory lower frame rails on up. The seats had to be wider in order to fit the R1 engine between them. Thus the floor had to be widened and a custom roll cage and chassis were fabricated. Reverse is important with a weight of 1400 lbs. Since the R1 motorcycle does not have reverse, Justin used a chain driven, forward and reverse, gear box. He also used full size racing seats and safety harnesses.
Yamaha Rhino air filter
Yamaha Rhino air filter
Other details include Cognito's long travel suspension with FOX racing shocks and heavy duty Rhino front spindles which were built by Cognito. This R1 Rhino also includes a custom stainless steel header, hydraulic clutch (instead of the cable activated clutch on the R1 motorcycle), custom gear shift, fuel cell, fuel filler mount, custom radiator and shroud, seat mounts, re-located steering column (to line up with the repositioned seat), custom sheet metal doors and roof, tail light housing, fiberglass hood and fenders, ITP bead-locked wheels and ITP tires.
Cab of Yamaha Rhino R1
Cab of Yamaha Rhino R1


This R1 Rhino is fully functional, it has 14" of travel front and rear, a top speed of 100 MPH via the 6 speed transmission inside the R1 engine package, an 8 gallon fuel cell, and plenty of cooling capacity. It does not however have 4WD anymore, which does not pose a threat coming from the kind of tire speed with 130 rear wheel horsepower. The off-roading this car sees is desert riding and a lot of sand duning. Without 4 wheel drive it definitely isn't a rock crawler or mud bogger.

Lambert is not really into the custom build scene, he just mainly build his own custom projects if time allows. "This build allowed me to show off my design and fabrication skills representing Cognito Motorsports," Lambert states. "The bad thing about my being involved in custom builds, is I can't normally make much money from them. But in my position, I was also building a marketing tool for Cognito Motorsports which can be worth a lot of money if I use it properly."

Lambert built the R1 Rhino machine and Rodger from Ironworks built the intake setup including the custom flanges that capture the K&N air filter. "I have been using K&N filters on my motorcycles and quads for 20 years due to the availability, selection, quality, and performance," Lambert mentioned. "So when this custom project arose I already had K&N on my mind for the intake." His other projects normally involve building trucks with Cognito Motorsports suspension and steering components, although he is also building himself a Kawasaki Teryx setup for desert racing, and currently drawing up plans for another SR1 Rhino setup for short course racing.

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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 30 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit knfilters.com.

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