I found this link very helpful in my tripod selection between Gitzo's Mountaineer and Systematic.
I at one time had a Manfrotto CXPRO3 with 488RC4 ballhead. The flip lever on the top plate of the ballhead got really jammed/stuck that at times it was hard to lock that I decided to just replace it with a RRS. I did swap out the top plate for a RRS plate and the screw didn't 100% secure in. I was at the RRS headquarters in San Luis Obispo and they kinda glued the bolt to secure the plate to the Manfrotto ballhead. In sum, it was fine for what as a cheaper alternative for 1-2 years until I finally upgraded and got a RRS BH-55. It may be overkill, but the large surface area of the ballhead I found welcome in composing the image, not to mention on my series 3 Mountaineer tripod the BH-40 is just too puny. Typically a BH-40 will serve you fine or a BH-30 if you want to go Gitzo traveler and fold up the legs.
Now my experience with the Manfrotto tripod was painful. The rubber covers caps at the end of the legs would get loose and come off compared to the Gitzo's that would screw in at the bottom. Additionally after numerous trips to the beach, desert, or other sandy areas bits and grains would get stuck in the flip lock joints and it'd be a pain to disassemble and clean compared to the Gitzo's twist/screw.
In sum my lesson learned, tripods depreciate in value significantly compared to lenses. If I could do it all over again, I would just wait and save and go with the best out there over upgrading a little bit to what my budget at the time could spare. I have carried my Series 3 Tripod which is a bit more sturdier/solid than the series 2 for up to 2 mile distance/hikes and I would push for that if you don't plan to do a whole lot of walking with it. Otherwise go with the Series 2 and a quality ballhead like a Markins, RRS, or AcraTech (you will probably need to budget around $1100).
Another ballhead brand to look at is the Acratech ballheads: http://acratech.net/
They are cheaper than the RRS, super easier to clean (don't have to take it apart or ship it back to RRS to clean), and one of the lightest on the market.