Grand Prix 125
Main Motorcycle: Triumph Bonneville
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Moorpark, California
Other Motorcycle: 2012 Harley-Davidson FLD
I own a Bell 500 and the quality, fit and finish are excellent. I can't speak for the Fulmer V2, but I've seen them and it also appears to be well made. On the topic of being "DOT Approved" - There's actually no such thing for motorcycle helmets. Even some manufacturer's and distributors mistakenly use this term. The DOT does not approve helmets. They only issue the standard and the manufacturer themselves certify that their helmet meets this standard. It's a type of honor system. The DOT does from time to time test some helmets however it's a very small percentage of what's being sold.
So in fact - the answer is "no" - A helmet does not have to pass a physical test in order to get a DOT certification.
Snell actually does perform comprehensive tests and certify each helmet which is submitted to them, however manufacturer's are not required to submit their helmets to Snell. IMHO it is a good marketing point to do so, but the vast majority of helmets out there are not Snell approved. Just because a helmet wasn't submitted to Snell for testing, doesn't mean it's less safe. Only that the manufacturer didn't want to pay to submit theirs for testing.
Just based on my personal experience, I've owned a Simpson 3/4, and also own an Arai RX-Q full-face, in addition to my Bell 500. The Arai is extremely nice, but at 1/5th the price, the Bell is real good. The liner, straps, D-rings, stitching, trim and other items are very high quality.
The "$10 head" cliche that's been floating around forever is a misnomer, as there's never been any testing or proof that a more expensive helmet is safer than a cheap one if they both meet the same standard.
130,000-mile 01 Bonnie
Host - New Triumph Bonneville Forum