Interesting dynamics in this discussion. A lot of people presume to know what the OP "needs" and how he "needs to learn it". Or how other people should think and learn about these things. It's a piss-poor instructor that demands the student think and learn the way the instructor thinks and learned.
Knowing how to ride a bicycle teaches us just enough about how to ride a motorcycle to get some people into trouble. Yes, they are both single track vehicles and the physics involved has much in common but the sensory feedback and self-righting tendencies are different enough to make riding a motorcycle at speed a different animal. The classic new owner that crashes the bike on the way home from the dealership is a good example of this reality.
Some people are not scientifically inclined. That, in and of itself, doesn't make them bad people or unintelligent, but it does affect how they view technical explanations of physical realities. Other people need to "wrap their minds around" why these things are true. Not in order to ride a bike at easy paces but to really learn to trust the things about motorcycle dynamics that are counterintuitive.
Presumably we all learned to ride a bicycle before we tried to ride a motorcycle and yet in some cases even after decades of experience, some people still don't believe that a single track vehicle can only initiate a turn via counter-steering. Riding a motorcycle is not the same as riding a bicycle except under some very narrow circumstances. Learning to ride a motorcycle at the edge requires different skills, techniques and, dare I say, knowledge.
I'm not arguing that these things must be practiced under stressing conditions in order to be fully internalized or that internalization isn't a good thing. As I ride, I don't consciously counter-steer. But I do counter-steer all the time. And if I think about what I'm doing, I'll be aware that I'm counter-steering. Being aware doesn't slow me down and doesn't mean I don't have the reflexive response. It just means that I am able to counter-steer instinctively and I understand the physics.
Originally Posted by IrishJohn
Should I be able to make a CONCIOUS move of the handlebars to the opposite way I want to go or should I just continue as I am - having no problems in the turns etc without fully 'understanding' how I get around them????
To the OP: Yes, you should be able to consciously counter-steer. It would be a good thing for you to be aware of your counter-steering if that helps you internalize the technique. No, you don't have to fully understand the physics of how a motorcycle turns, unless that knowledge will help you enjoy the experience more deeply and/or make you a safer rider.