Previous studies have indicated that values for mechanical efficiency during cycle exercise in prepubertal subjects are similar to those in adults. Few studies have directly compared these groups, however, and earlier reports did not consider the importance of assessing efficiency at similar relative exercise intensities. Nineteen prepubertal boys and 21 college men underwent cycle exercise testing for determination of delta efficiency (the energy required to increase workload), related to both absolute work load and relative work intensity (percent VO2max). No significant differences in either of these measures were observed between the two groups. Mean delta efficiency between workloads of similar relative intensity was 23.2% for the prepubertal subjects and 22.5% for the adults (p greater than .05). Between equal absolute workloads the values were 23.2 and 26.5%, respectively (p greater than .05). These findings support earlier contentions that the efficiency of muscular contraction during exercise is comparable in pre- and post-pubertal subjects.