A dead-axle (or hub and bearings) is much less common than the live-axle setup used on most mini choppers. As opposed to a "live" axle, where the axle spins along with the wheel, this axle does not spin. The wheel and other parts are mounted to a hub which has bearings pressed inside. The bearings and hub spin on the axle.
This is the type of setup that is used on
most motorcycles. Often, the axle is inserted into slotted dropouts and the
chain is adjusted by moving the wheel forward or backward within the slots. This
allows the engine to be mounted solid, which makes the bike's drive-train much
more rigid and reliable. There are also other advantages to this type of
axle, including the possibility of a cleaner and more attractive rear axle area.
But, this setup is often more expensive than a live-axle and custom parts are
much more difficult to locate.
Below is a diagram that illustrates the most common parts of the axle setup used on my mini chopper. Here, I used a dead-axle, but it was mounted without slotted drop-outs at the rear. My chain tension was adjusted by moving the engine forward or back with the motor mount slots. I used chrome caps to cover the axle nuts and give a clean appearance.