Soma Shikoro Tires - 700c Various sizes
These MADE IN JAPAN tires are the our top picks if you stay on the road most of the time and the off-road riding you do is mellow and fairly hard-packed. These are the perfect balance of zippy and durable; similar to Jack Browns, but plumper.
They're safe, durable, great-looking, smooth-riding, and extremely flat-resistant.
The casings are tough, sun-resistant, and a beautiful dark amber-brown.
Inflated on rims, they tend to measure two millimeters or so skinnier than what the labels say. Rim width affects that, so there's no way to nail the exact size in a discussion like this. It's not important, either.
For our bikes we recommend:
Homers and Sams - 42mm
Roadinis - 38mm
Cheviots - 42mm, although the 48mm will work too
Clem, Appaloosa, Atlantis - 48mm
Susie & Gus - 48mm, although these frames will fit a tire up to 65mm or so, a 48 Shikoro has got to be the top tire for pavement riding. It'll turn Gus and Susie into horizontal rocketships on pavement.
NOTE ABOUT PLUSHNESS/SUPPLENESS/RIDE QUALITY
There is a pervasive myth that thin, "supple" tire sidewalls are essential to a smooth and cushy ride. That is misleading at best, bullshit at worst. For a given tire volume and inflation pressure, a thinner tire casing will obviously flex more. But that also means that for any degree of rim protection (from bottoming out), you have to inflate it harder. For any given degree of measurable cush, you don't have to inflate a stiffer tire as much. Maybe 5psi less. This will give you the same absorption over a bump, and a more cut-resistant and sun-resistant tire.
Clearly, it will weigh more. There will always be riders who look at weight above all else, and these Shikoros, while not "heavy" by modern tire standards (they weigh less than comparably sized Schwalbe Marathon, for instance)--yes, while not heavy, they're heaviER than today's featherweights. It's just a matter of what you want, but for all-around, practical, worry-free year round riding, a slightly heavier tire with a tougher sidewall will flat less often and last much longer.