Here's one concept that may help you decide.
You bet, Zendrums are expensive. No doubt. But when you actually talk to the guy who INVENTED it during the ordering process, and decide on what wood you want to use (and I mean that very literally: last time I had a Zendrum made, I decided on Flame Maple... so David took pictures of a dozen pieces of wood and I actually picked THE piece I wanted), and an instrument is made with YOUR name on it, it becomes an heirloom rather than something off the shelf. I have many, many instruments in my studio, some of which I really like and use often... but my 2 Zendrums are MINE and are part of my musical "family." That feeling is worth a lot of cash, let me tell you!
Further evidence: I sold one of my older Zendrums a year ago (I had 2 ZXs and I decided to sell one to get an LT instead). For some reason the guy I sold it to resold it a few months later, and the new owner sent me a message about it. The message was titled "I found one of your kids!"
Bottom line is, you can buy a "Brand R" controller off-the shelf for less $$$ than a Zendrum. But it's plastic, and there are a zillion others out there just like it. Or, you can get one handmade for YOU. Worth it? You bet.