I have a silver/black '82 XV920RJ (the red '81 was the RH) that I've owned since '89. Third owner. I've put about 30,000 miles on it and would have done more but it has sat for a few different spells for different reasons (job, home renovation, injury, procrastination). It's going to come out from under wraps again this year for rehab and more riding. Shoulder surgery yesterday is my excuse this time, but it's a damn good one.
When I first saw the magazine cover of the red '81 I knew it was the bike for me, but I took my time getting one. As late as '88 I found a new '82 in a North Carolina dealership but had just bought a house and had to pass on that one. Women just don't understand some things.
The horror stories you may have heard about the starter (same setup as the shaft-drive Virago) are not exaggerated, embellished or fabricated. Yamaha blew it on this one and the original setup takes a lot of TLC (sounds better than "screaming and tool throwing") to get right. One fellow in PA suggests retrofitting the later '86-and-up sidecover and other parts and this might be worth pursuing.
When the stock pipes finally rust out you'll have a tough time finding OEM or other replacements. MAC makes a great 2-into-1 for a reasonable price, and it would be worth getting it ceramic coated for longevity. Gazbike in Wales makes a gorgeous stainless 2-into-2 that is probably not overpriced for what you get. Pipes for the Virago from Jardine and others might fit but shorty dumps don't look right on the R bike.
I have digital pix of mine but have not been able to post, despite repeated attempts and readings of the instructions. Any input would be welcome if you're interested in seeing them. When I do get back to working on it I will document the process. Cheers!