While bike commute has many things going for it in Tucson (e.g., countless sunny days, well-planned bike lanes), the over-abundance of thorns and the generally poor pavements are definitely not. After having a good number of flats, I finally gave in today and spent some good money on a pair of Continental Ultra Gatorskins (700c x 25). Hopefully this will do the trick.
Now some observations about the tires before I have a chance to ride. First, they are pretty easy to mount. I read some reviews about how difficult it is to get these tires mounted and was kind of dreading about doing that. To my surprise, the ones I got (with wire beads) went on without causing my any trouble. In fact, they are easier to mount than the stock tires that came with my bike.
Second, the QC may not be as good as I expected. When I saw the asymmetrical thread pattern, I asked the people at the bike shop (our local Performance Bike) about the direction of rotation. The answer they gave me was to put the sizing label on the left. However, when I was mounting the second tire, I noticed that the sizing labels are on different sides for the two tires that I got. So if I follow this direction, I'd end up with two tires with opposite thread patterns. Although it probably doesn't really matter, this makes me doubt about what the label "Handmade in Germany" really say about them. Sloppy workers maybe?