The UD3 has that distinctive HNF-NICOLAI look and it’s a real eye-catcher. The premium German brand is all about high-quality workmanship, excellent customer service and individual solutions. Read on to find out who the HNF-NICOLAI UD 3 is for.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best off-road step-through bike of 2020 – 10 models tested head to head

HNF-NICOLAI UD3 | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 75/0 mm (f/r)
27.9 kg (Size L) | € 4,695 | Manufacturer’s website

HNF-NICOLAI have stayed true to their distinctive style in designing the UD3. The angular tubing paired with the matt red paint job looks high-quality and gives the step-through bike a somewhat techy look. The practical accessories of the HNF-NICOLAI UD3 are high-quality throughout: sturdy aluminium mudguards, an integrated lock, a side stand, luggage rack (15 kg maximum load) and one of the best lights in the test. However, there’s no place for you to store your water bottle. The position of the side stand close to the bottom bracket is stable but has its quirks. If you need to push the ebike, the cranks and stand get in each other’s way. The SR Suntour MOBIE25 fork offers 75 mm travel but doesn’t have an air spring and as a result limited amounts of adjustment to suit its rider’s weight to a limited extent. Not only that, but the UD3 is only available in sizes M and L which unfortunately means that very short and very heavy riders will both have to make compromises. We weren’t entirely happy with the brakes either. While the UD3 has better brake levers than the Riese & Müller Homage, that still doesn’t make the MAGURA MT4 a good brake. It lacks both power and reliability.

The infinitely variable Enviolo drivetrain with its 380% gear range and the Gates carbon belt suit the UD3 well, keeping your trousers clean and allowing you to shift while stationary. Our only gripe is that it becomes difficult to shift while force is being applied to the drivetrain. The online configurator also provides the option to upgrade the bike to an automatic Enviolo drivetrain. You can also customise the display, lights and tires before ordering your bike.

The striking design of the step-through trekking ebike is typical HNF-NICOLAI. They’ve paid a lot of attention to the details – just look at the head badge.
15 kg is enough!
The luggage rack is only limited to 15 kg, which is more than enough! With more weight on the rear, the handling of the UD3 would suffer too much anyway.
Why on the right?
Instead of going around the head tube as usual, the cables enter the frame close to the head tube. As a result, the rear brake and shifter cables rub against the frame, leaving scratches and rattling.
Moto feeling
Schwalbe’s Moto-X tires provide a completely different feeling compared to riding with knobbly MTB tires. Great on asphalt, not on trails. The tires offer good cushioning on gravel and forest roads, though little grip.


€ 4,695


Motor Bosch Performance Line CX 75 Nm
Battery Bosch PowerTube 625 Wh
Display Bosch Intuvia
Fork SR Suntour MOBIE25 75 mm
Rear Shock mm
Seatpost Humpert Atar 31 - mm
Brakes Magura MT4 180/180 (v/h) mm
Drivetrain Enviolo Trekking 380 % Bandbreite
Stem Satori Compact 90 mm
Handlebar Satori Compact 680 mm
Wheelset 27.5
Tires Schwalbe Super Moto-X 2.4

Technical Data

Size M, L
Weight 27.9 kg
Perm. total weight 120 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 92 kg
Trailer approval yes
Kickstand mount yes

Specific Features

hub gears
optional automatic shifting
customisable spec

Continuously variable drivetrain and belt drive
With Enviolo’s infinitely variable hub drivetrain, shifting is done via a twist grip. This works great when stationary but requires significantly more effort under load.
The only carbon on the aluminium bike
The drivetrain is connected by a Gates carbon belt, which keeps your trousers clean.
Step through, please
The height and size of the step-through section is good – not too high and not too narrow.
Excellent headlight
The Supernova Mini is one of the best headlights in the test and ensures good visibility, from directly in front of the bike to a distance of approximately 50 m.
Poor visibility at the rear
The taillight is nicely integrated into the mudguard, but it’s positioned very low, to the detriment of visibility.
Helmet Fox Flux

With the UD3, HNF-NICOLAI bring good handling to the city and do so in style.

The Bosch Performance Line CX motor is powered by a 625 Wh battery but doesn’t come with eMTB mode firmware as standard. This can and should be done at your local dealership. Bosch’s progressive support mode isn’t just good for off-road use and provides well-judged and modulated support wherever you ride. The battery lock is mounted high up on the down tube, allowing you to easily remove the battery. Nor will you have to bend over to plug in the charger as the port is also positioned near the head tube. That also keeps it well away from dirt, which is fortunate since the standard cheap Bosch cover also tore off on this bike during our test. The clamp for the internally routed cables is beautifully integrated with the design of the frame and the cables are bundled to keep everything looking tidy. Unfortunately, the line for the rear brake and the shifter cable is routed in such a way that they come out of the right side of the frame, so they rub against the head tube and scratch the frame.

The riding position of the UD3 is suitable for long distances and it’s sufficiently comfortable even without a suspension seat post thanks to Schwalbe’s voluminous Super Moto-X tires. On asphalt, the HNF-NICOLAI steers precisely while remaining stable, though the ride and handling is undoubtedly influenced by the Super Moto-X tires. It’s a completely different feeling compared to riding with MTB tyres and perfect for cruising! The Schwalbe tires offer good cushioning and sufficient grip on dry and wet asphalt, allowing you to make the most of the step-through bike’s manoeuvrability in city traffic. However, the performance of the tires lags behind most others in the test through gravel corners. We don’t recommend veering off-road with these tires, where they lack the necessary grip. After a tire change, this step-through touring ebike quickly becomes more capable off-road. 11 kg of luggage on the rear rack has a marked effect, making the handling feel indirect and vague. With a maximum payload (including rider) of 92 kg, the amount of luggage you can carry is heavily restricted anyway.

Tuning tips: install Bosch’s eMTB mode at the dealership | fit knobbly tires as required


The UD3 from HNF-NICOLAI is a trekking ebike for paved bike paths. Due to the Super Moto-X tyres, it isn’t suitable for gravel, forest and dirt trails and unless you fit more aggressive tires, you shouldn’t attempt riding off-road! If you’re looking for a stylish, high-quality and agile step-through ebike for the city, you’ll find it here. Thanks to high-quality accessories for everyday practicality, year-round commuting is no problem. However, as there are only two frame sizes available, you should test ride the bike beforehand to avoid compromising on the fit.


  • traction and rolling characteristics of the tires on asphalt
  • precise and stable handling
  • partially customisable spec


  • minimal payload
  • only two frame sizes
  • no bottle cage bosses
  • weak brakes

For more info head to:

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best off-road step-through bike of 2020 – 10 models tested head to head

All bikes in test: BULLS E-STREAM EVO 1 WAVE 27,5+(Click for review) | CENTURION E-Fire Country F3500 (Click for review) | Corratec Life CX 6X Connect (Click for review) | FANTIC ISSIMO FUN (Click for review) | HNF-NICOLAI UD 3 (Click for review) | INFRONT IF-4 Wave (Click for review) | Kalkhoff Entice 5.B Excite (Click for review) | KETTLER QUADRIGA TOWN & COUNTRY COMP (Click for review) | Moustache Samedi 27 Off 2 Open (Click for review) | Riese & Müller Homage GT (Click for review)

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Words: Photos: Robin Schmitt, Jonas Müssig, Philipp Schwab