I need to build a bicycle carrier for my 93 Swift hatchback, and want to make the whole thing as aerodynamic as possible since it will be used on long trips. Does anyone have any fantastic ideas I ought to consider in my design?
I'm thinking of keeping it as low as possible and removing the front wheel so neither end of the bike will stick out the sides. I also want to make it fold back so I can open the hatch without removing the bike.
A hitch rack is a fairly good aero option, although it's much heavier and less aero than a trunk rack, and it'll obscure the number plate.
I'm sort of up against the same thing, since I'll need to support our distance rides this summer. I guess my current plan is to put on my 5-bike roof rack for the shorter rides and just throw a Blackburn Super Cycle Shuttle trunk rack in the car for ones where I'll be on the expressway a lot. The roof rack should be much more of an FE hit at high speeds than lower ones.
I'd stick with a trunk rack that can be adjusted for the hatchback similar to the Blackburn (I don't think it's still being made). If you want a project to work on that will make it more convenient, you could consider a cantilevered balance weight mounted to the interior of the hatch so you can use the hatch normally with a bike and rack installed.
One other option may be to construct custom towers for a roof rack that can be mounted to the hatch and point the bike down with the front wheel off. I expect this would probably disturb less airflow than a conventional trunk rack, and it'd be a bit more secure and convenient.
If you want to make it really efficient, figure out a way to put the bike in a boattail
I was thinking of making a single beam that goes up from my receaver hitch that my fork would attach to, leaving the rear wheel hanging down, where it gets bungied to the beam, keeping the whole bike inline with the rest of the car, and saving as much weight as possible.