I don't like the amount of handlebar drop on my current road bike. I am looking at a new bike that has an additional 1.2cm of frame stack (height). Would this 1.2cm make much difference in the ride of the bike?
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My own personal experience is that small changes can make a big difference, but you should be able to get the bars 1.2 cm higher a lot cheaper than a new frame.
I've found that the most critical measurement in a frame is the Effective Top Tube. If that is "right" for you then with enough bodging you can get the handlebars in the right place. For a road bike that means a stem in roughly the 90-120cm range for most people. If you aren't over 6 feet and you find you need a stem outside that range, then I would seriously consider a new frame.
My advice is to spend some time and money on the current bike to find out where the right place is. You might end up with an ugly heavy bodge based on a stem extender, but then you will know exactly what you need in the next bike.
If the stem extender works, then you might just need a new fork with an uncut steerer so you can get the stack height you want. Forks with carbon steerers have a stack height limit, but even there most bikes come out of the shop with the steerer cut at the minimum rather than the maximum. ( Because it looks better on the shop room floor that way... )
Sure! Especially on the long distances. If you have a bike a little big or small for your stature, you can try to adjust the seat or you can also try a stem of the handlebar with a different lenght
Small changes can certainly make a big difference... but it may not or there may be other things you can change. As such, buying a new bike to make this sort of adjustment seems like overkill.
You can swap the stem, handlebars, add spacers, adjust the angle of the handlebar, and so on.