I saw this system in action yesterday.
1. Very high quality aircraft aluminum. No cheap alternatives.
2. Smart, simple, strong, practical.
3. FAST. very fast. Often one lever to tighten, lock or loosen.
4. Easy to make small modifications to position. (Balancing the whole rig)
5. Very easy to get to the back menu of the camera.
6. Can attach plate and battery to the low mode as well creating a nice counter weight as well.
They really thought this through. Not including a pad is a good idea as most people like to fashion their own.
John has really done his research here and I think the price is MORE THAN FAIR for the quality of the machining, etc.