D.O.T or Novelty? Which Helmet is for Me?
D.O.T. motorcycle helmets that do not have a D.O.T. rating are usually called novelty helmets. Novelty means; toy, trinket, or decorative item. The term novelty, when paired with “motorcycle helmet” does not create confidence.
The cheaply made or flimsy novelty helmets are properly branded as novelty because they give little protection against impact. However, the stronger and modern low profile helmets consisting of high tech materials could hardly be referred to as novelty. These high grade motorcycle helmets only lack the D.O.T. label because they are not made with the older and somewhat outdated specs that D.O.T requires.
So why do motorcyclists purchase head protection that does not carry the D.O.T. approved label or sticker? The rider may feel that any kind of helmet is better than no helmet at all. He or she might only wear a novelty helmet so police officers will not bother them.
Some motorcyclists actually want adequate protection from a helmet but don’t like bulkiness of a D.O.T. helmet. A small number of companies have created a smaller and more low profile helmet using superior strength to weight ration materials. Some of which consist of carbon fiber and or kevlar. Kevlar and carbon fiber have been on the market for some time but not used in motorcycle helmet application until after the U.S. military helmets were on the market.
If your respective state does not enforce D.O.T. approved helmet rules, there is a great alternative to these massive helmets. Smaller, stronger, low profile helmets do exist. You just have to find them. There are several imitation carbon fiber helmets on the market, mostly made in India or China. Make sure to find the authentic carbon fiber shells. Your best bet is finding an American made helmet company. It might be risky buying through eBay because you won’t know what you have until it’s too late. It’s probably a good idea to go with known U.S. helmet dealer who specialize in the low profile helmet.