Howdy All-
(longtime lurker, first time poster)

Im seeking recomendations on a new gravel bike.... the time has come to upgrade from my beater cross bike to a nicer dedicated gravel rig.

Im an average rider... not looking to win the DK200 but I need a gravel bike thats is comfortable on and of pavement for long miles.

Im looking for something in the $2500-$3k price range, and so far the (new) Warbird and Willard are the front runners. I just dont know enough to make the call on why to go with one vs the other.

The ralieghs have mounts for fenders and rack, where the Salsa doesnt. I do very little bike packing so a backpack or frame bag on the salsa would be do-able. Rack mounts are not a make it or break it for me, but it is something to consider.....

So if it was your money to spend would you go with a Willard or a Warbird??

(to further expand on my question of 'how would YOU spend my money'---- steel vs aluminum vs carbon... Is carbon worth the $$? Would i get a similar ride quality out of aluminum and save a few bucks? The weight savings isnt as much a deciding factor to me as is ride quality)

Thanks for educating a noob, I appreciate your advice.

(my local Salsa dealer is offering 10% off and free maintenece for life; my local raleigh dealer is MSRP only with no perks.... so thats a factor also)

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I'm thinking I'd ride them all and see which "feels" right to you.  They are all sweet bikes.  Ultimately you are the only one whose opinion counts. 
How's that for wishy washy?  [smile]

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Definitely ride them both. I'm in the market too, and by my estimations the Willard/Tamland is a bit longer and lower, so is likely a better endurance ride. One of the "features" of the new Warbird is a more race-like riding position via a lowered stack hieght, so that makes it much less attractive to me.
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Check the geometry charts of the bikes you are comparing. In my size (58), the new Warbird does have a reduction in stack height of 11mm compared to the old version (627-616), but is still 17mm taller than the same sized Raleigh Tamland (599). The Willard is a little taller at 603, but still 13mm shorter than the new Warbird.
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Hrm, my eyes must have crossed in there somewhere; yeah the warbird does have greater stack -- 22mm in my case (60cm size)! Too bad I can't afford the warbird.
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The new aluminum Warbirds look mighty fine. I like a little more bottom bracket drop, but the new clearance is pretty great.
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