Bad luck with Panaracer Urban max
I bought them because of the Kevlar strip. But a 7 mile ride yesterday and about 25 yards of which was on dirt proved to be too much. The Kevlar strip is about .5" wide right on top. A little thorn enter just outside of it. Fortunely for me Performance Bike has a 100% satisfactory policy. They told me to box them up with a letter describing the problem and they would exchange, refund or replace. I'm choosing the refund. I'm probably going to get the Specialized Armadillo Nimbus. I have a set of Armadillo Spankies on my BMXer. I've riden that thing through thorn patchs just to see how it tough the Dillis really are. 30 miles of tough trail rides later I'm still trying to see what will go through them.
I have to agree that as far as flat resistance goes, Armadillos are beyond reproach. I have yet to get a flat with one with thousands of miles on various sizes of tires on my fleet of bikes. If you depend on your bike to get you somewhere on time ( such as your job ) you won't go wrong with Armadillos. The Specialized Flak Jackets are another matter - they seem slightly worse than average.
Also, I have had very good luck with Continental Gator Skin Ultras, as good as the Armadillos. And Vittoria Randonneurs have been good to me - these were on a Novara Big Buzz commuter I bought in February, and just went past 1000 miles without a flat. In fact, I have done a little over 5,500 miles in 2004 without a single flat for the year so far.
The Crosstown comes a lot closer to the Armadillo in beefiness.
Size, quality, and weight play roles in toughness. The Urban Max
weighs close to a pound less. That is a huge difference. Btw, the weight difference is an estimate, you can't trust advertised specs.
Nothing against Specialized, it's just everyone seems to go there when they want a tougher tire. There are other tires I like better (of course, if I was living in the desert it might be a different story) There's a review of big tough tires on one of the Brit cycling mags this month. Pretty interesting stuff.